GM, Politecnico di Torino and Regione Piemonte, have entered into a framework agreement on the development of sustainable mobility, research and education projects in the Turin, Italy region. The announcement was made at the GM Symposium Diesel Fuels the Future.
The resulting Accordo di Programma will form the Institute of Automotive Research and Education which will drive new R&D projects in Piemonte. The goal of the Institute would be to develop and deliver world-class research and education with a strategic focus on future alternative powertrains which have the potential to reinvent the automobile for the 21st century.
The blueprint for the Institute of Automotive Research and Education builds on the existing partnership between GM and Politecnico which was formalized in a Master Agreement on Research and Education in June 2006.
A priority project of the Accordo is the creation of the Diesel Electrification Competence Center within the GM Engineering Center to lead research and development on the electrification of diesel vehicles.
A focus of the center will be to develop cost-effective diesel hybrid technology which could be implemented across a range of GM vehicles. Diesel hybrid has the potential to become a key element of GM’s electrification strategy in Europe where diesel-powered vehicles account for around 50% of the market.
As part of the center’s work to bring this new technology to market, it would focus on reducing the cost of diesel and hybrid technologies, reducing criteria and CO2 emissions, and developing more intelligent controls to optimize performance and simplifying the combined diesel hybrid system.
The planned center would be located within GM’s Engineering Center in the Cittadella Politecnica and administered by GM. GM and Politecnico would contribute advanced engineering researchers, facilities and professors and are in the process of applying to the Centro Estero per l’Internazionalizzazione (responsible within Regione Piemonte), for additional R&D funding to support the establishment of the innovative center.
Another part of the Accordo is the commitment by all parties to work together to overcome the regulatory hurdles which could enable the launch of Italy’s first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle demonstration program. GM says it is ready to support a fuel cell vehicle fleet in Torino which could form part of GM’s global hydrogen fuel cell vehicle demonstration program, Project Driveway, which was recently launched in Berlin.
An application to join the PACE program represents an important education pillar within the Accordo. As a centre of excellence in automotive research and education, and an important GM partner, Politecnico has been selected to establish the first PACE program in Italy.
PACE is a global corporate alliance between General Motors, EDS, Sun Microsystems and UGS that has been in place since 1999. It supports key academic institutions worldwide with industry-specific software, hardware and training to prepare the next generation of engineers, designers and analysts with the skills they need to compete in the future.
As part of its contribution, GM will donate specialist engineering work stations and training in the specialized automotive industry CAD (computer aided design) programs.
Finally, under the guiding principle of the Accordo, GM and Politecnico reaffirm their successful R&D partnership with new projects in Piemonte supporting the Italian national innovation strategy as set out in Industria 2015 and other European programs.