Research and Development Automotive Technical Center on a Greenfield Site

October 23, 2020

Subaru - Van Buren Township, Michigan

Project Features:
Greenfield, New Construction, Design/Build, Turnkey Delivery, Test Equipment Procurement, Installation, integration, Facility & Equipment Integration, 4WD EPA1066 Chassis Dynamometer Test Cell, SHEDs for Evaporative Emission Testing, Fuel Room

r&d technical center greenfield site, systems integration services, integrated equipment, integrated test facility

The Challenge

In 2017, Subaru’s Ann Arbor, Michigan, facility employed a small staff responsible for evaluations, infotainment design, and emissions testing of vehicles in development. To streamline its development process, Subaru wanted the team to take on a larger role in developing new vehicles.

Subaru had already outgrown its old technical center. To accommodate the company’s plans for more development, more testing, and more staff, it needed a bigger space with upgraded test equipment. The aging facility was also becoming expensive to maintain, making a new, greenfield development built to suit Subaru’s changing needs an attractive choice.

The Solution

ACS conducted in-depth research to determine the ideal size of each space in the new facility and the infrastructure it would require. Infrastructure, facility, equipment, and systems were not designed as disparate elements, but were viewed as an integrated whole. As the construction manager, ACS had end-to-end visibility of the project and could make construction and equipment decisions that integrated well together.

Once ACS engineers understood and documented Subaru’s testing requirements and capabilities, they were ready to design outward to create an optimal environment for these tests. ACS identified which pieces of equipment could be relocated from the old facility and which would need to be purchased new. The new facility provides space for staffers to collaborate on vehicle development, workshop space to work on vehicle prototypes, and testing areas to test the new designs.


The new technical center includes a two-story office building with space for teams to collaborate and approximately 30,000 square feet of high-bay testing and workshop space. The center is also home to a test track and skid pad for road-testing new vehicle prototypes.

At the time it was constructed, the technical center team was only one-third the size Subaru anticipated would eventually work there. As Subaru’s workforce grows into the space, it has the flexibility to configure the area to meet its future business needs.

The facility is equipped with two 1065-compliant chassis dynamometer test cells – one for environmental and cold testing and one for emissions certification. Both cells are controlled from a shared control room, and a dedicated room between the two cells holds emissions equipment for both cells.

Significant cost savings were realized by reducing the low end of the temperature requirement and by incorporating a solar array into the environmental test cell. The cell also includes vehicle soak space in the event a test requires a cold vehicle soak.

There are two sealed housing for evaporative determination (SHED) test chambers to facilitate emissions testing. These cells were built to accommodate testing equipment from the previous facility, which ACS decommissioned, broke down, moved, rebuilt, and recommissioned.

Facility Features

  • 56,000 square feet of office, collaboration, workshop, and testing space
  • Two 4WD EPA1066 chassis dynamometer test cells
  • Two SHED (Sealed Housing for Evaporative Determination) test chambers for emissions testing
  • Integrated equipment and facility systems
  • Fuel room
  • Vehicle soak spaces
  • Test track and skid pad

ACS Services Provided

  • Front End Planning (FEP) project development
  • Site Evaluation and Recommendations
  • Design and Construction Management
  • Site Development
  • Equipment Specification, Relocation, Procurement, and Installation
  • Equipment-Facility Integration
  • Commissioning