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  • Writer's pictureNATALIA SOUSA

Africa's first automotive development and testing centre to open in 2021

Oued Zem, Morocco has been selected to be the location of the continents first state of the art , automotive development and test centre. German firm, FEV, is a well known service provider of vehicle and powertrain development for hardware and software, and UTAC CERAM, is a French independent service provider in all areas of land transport. The two organisations are joining forces to operate Africa's first testing centre that it is expected to commence operations in the second half of 2021.

The testing facility will feature a wide range of capabilities that will allow complete endurance and reliability tests on rigs and test tracks, vehicle dynamics development and testing, Coast down tests on a 4 km track, rigs for powertrain development including electric, hybrid and internal combustion engine vehicles. Engineers will be able to work on acoustics development and testing, pedestrian impact development and testing, real driving emissions (RDE) cycles, ADAS development, validation and testing, and the facility will also be used for driver training / event planning services.

“Morocco has not only been our gateway to Africa but also to our European customers ever since we’ve opened our engineering office in Casablanca in 2018”, said Nadim Andraos, Executive Vice President for FEV in France, Spain and North Africa. “The country provides a great access base to other regions with a quick connection to Europe, which means we are able to develop genuine synergies. Through our cooperation with UTAC CERAM we’ll take the next logical step."

"The construction of our joint center is part of a growth strategy, which includes anticipation and addressing the needs of our customers”, said Laurent Benoit, CEO of UTAC CERAM. “The decision to choose Morocco was due to its countless advantages and the dynamic policies implemented by the Kingdom with the aim of turning the country into a global hub for the automotive industry.”

In April 2014 Morocco launched and ran the industrial acceleration plan (IAP), a sustainable development strategy for different industries including the automotive sector. R&D centres have been included in the IAP strategy which has driven FEV’s decision to open its Casablanca office in July 2018, which will now be extended to include the development and testing centre in Oued Zem.

“FEV is strengthening its position as a key partner to leading companies in the transportation industry, which includes manufacturers, suppliers, test labs but also schools and universities”, said Andraos. “Our activities in Morocco include performance testing, simulation studies, and powertrain calibration up to the management of turnkey projects like the development of total electric, hybrid and combustion engine vehicles. Additionally we provide testing solutions and instrumentation ranging from equipment and software supply to creating turnkey test benches and even fully operational development and testing centers.”

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