15. June 2018

40 Years of Development Services for Ideal Mobility Concepts: FEV Celebrates Its Anniversary

FEV Headquarters in Aachen. Source: FEV Group

Aachen, June 2018 – On June 15th, the festivities for the 40th anniversary of FEV will officially begin. Founded in 1978 by Professor Franz Pischinger with three employees, the corporate group, now 5,300 employees strong, is one of the internationally leading service providers for engine and vehicle development. On the occasion of this major anniversary, high-ranking personalities from the transit and transportation industry, and from local government have been invited to a technology colloquium. In this context, speeches will be given by the premier of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, and the first mayor of the city of Aachen, Dr. Margarethe Schmeer. 

The event framework and the guest list suggest that this is a special occasion. Four decades ago, the success story of FEV, a spin-off of the RWTH, started in small apartment near the university. Professor Franz Pischinger, then owner of the Institute for Applied Thermodynamics at the RWTH, was in charge of a small group of dedicated engineers there and aimed to optimally put research and theory into practice. Shortly thereafter, the development of innovative solutions for the industry began. Countless developments followed in the subsequent years. Many of these innovations were incorporated into serial production and thus achieved a far-reaching impact on the technology of drive systems.

In particular, the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions was the focus of the development work at the time – areas of research that are still part of FEV’s core competencies today.

With the company headquarters located in a small apartment on Augustinergasse and close to the RWTH campus, FEV had access to the university test benches and was able to quickly make a name for itself in the industry. However, it rapidly became apparent that FEV would require its own long-term infrastructure for the development and testing of its innovations. Thus, in 1982, the first Technical Center was opened on Jülicher Straße in Aachen, enabling the testing and validation of drive concepts. At the time, the concept of container test cells was innovative, but in the meantime it has been established in testing facility design and is already being used worldwide by leading companies.

Growing Fields of Expertise
As the company grew, so did its expertise in various areas of development. The Board quickly recognized that, in light of increasingly complex vehicles, the company’s basis of expertise would have to be expanded in order to retain its market leadership position and to continue to offer customers added value in view of growing requirements. Therefore, in addition to the original research and development work in the field of Diesel engines, FEV now offers extensive software, development, and test services for gasoline engines, hybrid and strictly electric drive systems, and transmissions. Other core competencies are the development of alternative fuels, automated driving, assistance systems and vehicle connectivity.

Innovations for Sustainable Mobility
Even with advancing technology and innovative drive concepts, FEV has never lost sight of the goal it has pursued since its foundation –, making mobility sustainable by increasing the efficiency of drive systems and reducing emissions. To date, many of the company’s innovations have contributed to this goal being achieved. Examples include the Diesel particle filter or direct fuel injection for turbocharged gasoline engines. Also worth mentioning is the 3-cylinder Ecoboost engine with direct injection, which implemented the downsizing idea, i.e. making the engine smaller while simultaneously increasing efficiency, and which was named "International Engine of the Year" six times in a row.

In addition to these technological highlights, other innovations geared toward reducing fuel consumption and emissions took effect, including different transmission solutions, such as the 7-/10-speed dual-clutch transmission, alternate systems for variable compression ratios in combustion engines, as well as range extenders for hybrid electric vehicles. Developments in the field of battery and performance management systems for hybrid and strictly electric vehicles should also be recognized. 

"In the beginning, many did not believe that our idea would work, since we experienced a lot of headwind. The political world, for instance, didn’t want FEV to ever have more employees than my institute at the time, meaning around 70," says Professor Franz Pischinger, founder and former chairman of the board. His son, Professor Stefan Pischinger, currently chairman of the board and managing partner of FEV Group GmbH, looks back with satisfaction on 40 successful years of FEV and adds: "Nobody mentions that today and we are extremely proud of our more than 5,300 employees. They are, and always have been, the driver of our success."

In their honor, as part of the anniversary weekend, there will also be a large party to which all members of the FEV family and their loved ones are invited. 

FEV Corporate History (Excerpt)

1978 – Professor Franz Pischinger founds FEV in Aachen (Germany).

1980 – FEV opens its first technical center with testing facilities on Jülicher Straße in Aachen.

1985 – FEV opens a branch in Palo Alto (California, USA).

1990 – FEV moves its headquarters within Aachen to Neuenhofstraße.

1997 – Professor Stefan Pischinger joins the board of FEV and succeeds his father, Professor Franz Pischinger, as the head of the Institute for Combustion Engines (formerly the Institute for Applied Thermodynamics) at the RWTH Aachen.

1997 – The North American technical center opens in Auburn Hills (Michigan, USA).

1998 – In collaboration with the Gesellschaft für Industrieforschung (GIF), an exhaust and NVH test facility with a test track opens in Alsdorf.

2004 – FEV opens a technical center in Dalian (China).

2006 – Professor Stefan Pischinger is appointed CEO of FEV.

2008 – The continuous testing center (Dauerlaufprüfzentrum - DLP) in Brehna (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) opens with a total of 35 test cells.

2009 – The technical center in Pune (India) opens.

2011 – FEV Consulting GmbH is founded.

2013 – FEV acquires the electronic development company DGE Inc. and expands its expertise in the fields of vehicle electronic systems, telematics and communication in and between vehicles.

2014 – FEV starts operating a new development center near Beijing (China).

2015 – With the acquisition of D2T Powertrain Engineering in France, FEV expands its testing and test systems capacities, among other things.

2016 – Through various corporate acquisitions, FEV increases its expertise in the field of connected and automated driving. With Imperia, a company that develops innovative lightweight automotive solutions also becomes part of the FEV Group.

2017 – With etamax space, the FEV Group gains important expertise in safety verification management for driving assistance systems and in the field of smart vehicles. The acquisition of EVA Fahrzeugtechnik expands corporate expertise in the field of e-mobility; with STEA, the field of vehicle development is further reinforced. 

2018 – The continuous testing center in Brehna adds seven e-test benches to its offering. Thus, it now has a total of 48 test benches. In addition, with the acquisition of B&W Fahrzeugentwicklung, FEV is expanding its expertise and capacities in the Global Vehicle Development business segment (approval of the relevant authorities is pending).

About FEV

FEV has always pushed the limits.
FEV is a globally leading engineering provider in the automotive industry and internationally recognized leader of innovation across different sectors and industries. Professor Franz Pischinger laid the foundations by combining his background in academia and engineering with a great vision for continual progress. The company has supplied solutions and strategy consulting to the world's largest automotive OEMs and has supported customers through the entire transportation and mobility ecosystem. 

As the world continues to evolve, so does FEV.
That’s why FEV is unleashing its technological and strategic expertise into other areas. It applies its forward thinking to the energy sector. And its software and system know-how will enable the company to lead the way making intelligent solutions available to everyone. FEV brings together the brightest minds from different backgrounds and specialties to find new solutions for both current and future challenges. 

But FEV won’t stop there. 
Looking ahead, FEV continues to push the limits of innovation. With its highly qualified 7200 employees at more than 40 locations globally, FEV imagines solutions that don’t just meet today’s needs but tomorrow’s. Ultimately, FEV keeps evolving – to a better, cleaner future built on sustainable mobility, energy and software that drives everything. For the companies’ partners, its people and the world.