Over the past 5 years, 26.5 million euros have been invested in the Ford Lommel Proving Ground. Yet another reason to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford’s Belgian test and development centre.
Car testing started already 50 years ago at Lommel Proving Ground, Ford’s testing and development centre in Limburg.
To date, the Lommel Proving Ground is still the only Ford test facility where all passenger cars and commercial vehicles for the entire European region and even countries outside Europe are being tested and developed.
More than 700 cars undergoing tests
Looking for some key figures?
- 8 to 12 million test kilometres driven annually
- A 320 hectare site
- Testing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 355 days a year
- Up to 700 vehicles being tested
- 105 engineers out of a total of 410 employees
- 90 workshop and instrumentation mechanics
- 140 test drivers & electronic system testers
- 25,000 engineering visitors-days per year.
It goes without saying that, ever since it began operating 50 years ago, a lot has changed in the function of the test track. For instance, while testing and improving the durability of passenger and commercial vehicle have remained priorities, other aspects have become more and more important. These include the environment, dynamic behaviour and new technologies.
The facilities of Ford’s Lommel Proving Ground are the subject of ongoing investments to ensure they keep up with advances in the automotive industry. In fact, the most recent investment round was completed in September 2016. Between 2011 and the present, no less than 26.5 million euros have been invested.
Thanks to the investments, the test tracks were extended to a distance of 105 km, a new Vehicle Dynamics workshop was built, the 120,000 m² Vehicle Dynamics Area got new pavement, and additional test rigs to improve the NVH (Noise, Vibrations, Harshness) qualities of vehicles were set up.
Over the past few years, funds have also been invested in additional testing procedures and infrastructure for the development and adjustment of driver assistance systems and other cutting-edge automotive technologies.
Ford LPG now employing 410 people
The office buildings were also extended to accommodate the growing workforce. The number of Ford employees has grown from 330 to 410 between 2005 and the present day, in addition to the 40 to 100 external staff brought in to work on specific projects.
Students, too, are welcome on the circuit. Ford’s Lommel Proving Ground works closely with colleges, universities and engineering students from within and outside Belgium. Students receive practical advice to help them with their training or projects. The Belgian Solar team and the Formula Electric Belgium team are examples of such projects.