CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 27, 2009) — A newly formed consortium of North Carolina automotive and motorsports companies is planning to build a vehicle- and tire-testing facility in the Charlotte area to serve an expected increase in vehicle testing needs to meet new federal safety regulations.
The coalition, under the direction of an entity that calls itself Camber Ridge L.L.C., is still looking for an appropriate site for the facility, which should be operating by early 2012. The partners did not disclose the expected size or investment in the facility nor the identity of the members of the coalition.
James Cuttino, director of the North Carolina Motorsports and Automotive Research Center at University of North Carolina-Charlotte and president of Camber Ridge, is taking a leave of absence from the university to lead the corporate-funded effort.
“High-grade research capabilities, backed by the biggest names in auto and tire manufacturing, will allow us to tackle tire safety, wear and energy efficiency issues faster and more cost effectively than if a company or university pursued it alone,” Mr. Cuttino said in a prepared statement. “This proposed testing facility will go well beyond what exists anywhere and directly address needs of auto makers around the world.”
Mr. Cuttino, who holds advanced degrees in engineering from Clemson University and North Carolina State University, said the effort was created in response to a federal mandate that calls for all cars produced beginning in 2011 to have Electronic Stability Control (ESC) devices, which automatically apply brakes selectively to one one or more wheels to prevent loss of control or rollover.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stated ESC could prevent 221,000 to 323,000 crashes and save 5,300 to 9,600 lives annually.
“This facility is a world-class coup for the Charlotte region,” said Ronnie Bryant, president of the Charlotte Regional Partnership.