FEV: The Company History
FEV is a globally leading engineering and digital mobility company. Together with our customers, we are shaping the future of the mobility sector for carbon-neutral and efficient, connected, and safe transportation. Through our in-depth expertise we provide customers and society with cutting-edge solutions for the highest value of mobility and the most advanced transport experience from A to B.
Our expertise includes intelligent software and sustainable propulsion system development, as well as full vehicle engineering. Additionally, our range of services includes sophisticated systems engineering, cyber physical system development, software- and E/E-integration for software defined vehicles with highly automated and safe driving functionalities as well as vehicle integration. FEV’s engineering capabilities span the entire mobility ecosystem including all on-road applications as well as rail, marine, aerospace, agriculture, construction, mining, and industrial applications. Additionally, we transfer our elaborate know-how and innovations to adjacent markets, such as the energy sector, to deliver best-in-class industry solutions.
The FEV Group currently employs 6300 highly qualified specialists in customer-oriented development centers at more than 40 locations on five continents.
FEV – our roots, our journey
FEV (Forschungsgesellschaft für Energietechnik und Verbrennungsmotoren) was founded in 1978 as a privately held company by Prof. Franz Pischinger who, at the time, headed the Institute for Applied Thermodynamics at the Technical University of Aachen. Ever since, we have become an internationally-recognized leader in the design and development of internal combustion engines, conventional, electric, and alternative vehicle drive systems, energy technology, and a major supplier of advanced testing and instrumentation products and services to some of the world's largest OEMs.
In 1985, FEV expanded its business into North America, initially in California, before relocating to Detroit, MI, in 1987. Since 1997, FEV’s North American Technical Center is located in Auburn Hills, MI, close to Detroit. It is constantly being updated – in 2021 a cutting-edge solar simulation facility has been inaugurated.
Asian markets provide growth potential
After significant growth and expansion in Europe and the U.S., FEV entered the Chinese market with the establishment of an office in Beijing in 1998. Entering the new millennium and with its Asian business growing rapidly, FEV established its Asian Technical Center in Dalian, providing the company with a powertrain and vehicle development facility to support its customers in that region.
In 2009, FEV completed construction of its new India Technical Center in Pune. In the same year, FEV opened a world-class durability testing center in Brehna, Germany, near Leipzig with 31 engine and powertrain durability cells.
As vehicle propulsion systems continue to evolve, becoming more integrated and complex, FEV’s service capabilities have expanded into the area of transmission and driveline development. Through the introduction of electric and hybrid electric propulsion systems, H2 applications for fuel cells and ICEs, as well as the development of alternative fuel vehicles, provide opportunities, FEV expanded the company’s service offering. FEV also provides services in the areas of vehicle integration and calibration, wind power, as well as test and instrumentation systems.
In 2013, FEV acquired the electronics company DGE Inc., which as a subsidiary operates on the US market, complementing FEV Inc. in Auburn Hills, MI. With the integration of the company, FEV has expanded its competencies in the fields of electronics and automotive engineering as well as in the telematics and infotainment systems.
In March 2015, FEV acquired the French test system and engineering service provider D2T Powertrain Engineering S.A. including all business operations in France, the subsidiaries in Germany, China and the U.S. as well as the shares in South Korea and Japan. Thus, FEV extended its engineering capacities as well as its product and service portfolio in the field of test systems.
Focus on automated driving, cyber security and alternative powertrains
In 2016 FEV focused on connected and automated driving, cyber security as well as alternative powertrains. FEV expanded its competence spectrum through two new companies and one new development site to drive these forward-looking fields.
In June 2016, the FEV Beijing Vehicle and Powertrain Development Center was opened to be even better able to support the customers in Europe and China with regards to their product development. The powertrain systems for a CO2-neutral mobility and high energy efficiency being developed here include electric motors, batteries and fuel cells as well as highly efficient ICEs and transmissions.
In October 2016, FEV acquired a 51-per-cent stake in Michigan-based automation and testing products maker TrigTec that serves the industrial market with products that provide in-process manufacturing related testing capabilities, along with creating automated systems for plant processes. With this acquisition FEV complements the portfolio of its business unit “Software and Testing Solutions” through state-of-the-art testing capabilities.
The next step towards total vehicle development
Another major step was taken in November 2016, when FEV acquired a majority interest in vehicle body system developer Imperia GmbH. The company stands for innovative lightweight automotive solutions, ranging from individual components to the entire vehicle body. Through this strategic expansion, FEV expanded its expertise in the total vehicle development business segment.
The year 2017 started with an important innovation for FEV: in January, the company name of FEV GmbH was changed to FEV Europe GmbH. The increasing globalization of our activities led to the establishment of regional subsidiaries. The new name, FEV Europe GmbH, reflects the role of FEV GmbH as our European headquarters, now clearly visible for clients and business partners.
Furthermore, the global expansion of FEV continued through the acquisition of shares and business of etamax space GmbH which offers danger and risk analysis to its clients in the automotive, aerospace, and railway engineering industries for complex, safety-critical systems and according software. With the integration of etamax space GmbH into the FEV group, the company gained additional important know-how in the field of safety assessment for driving assistance systems, thus strengthening our Smart Vehicles engineering unit.
Smart Vehicle – connectivity and automation of future vehicles
Still in 2017, FEV continued its stride regarding the company’s global “smart vehicle” development efforts by establishing a global center of excellence (CoE) focusing on the interdisciplinary development of connectivity and the automation of future vehicle development. In addition to the integration of advanced driver assistance systems and automated driving functions (ADAS and AD), this will include infotainment and telematics systems as well as connected vehicle networking – meaning Car2X and Car2Cloud communication and the closely linked topic of cyber security.
World’s largest development and test center for high-voltage batteries
In 2020, FEV inaugurated the world’s largest development and test center for high-voltage batteries for passenger and commercial vehicles. The durability testing center (known by its German abbreviation eDLP) is yet another milestone for the Aachen-based global engineering provider in its more than 40-year history. The state-of-the-art eDLP complex measures 15,500 m2. Inside, performance and electrical tests are conducted, as well as tests on environmental and mechanical impacts and abuse tests for battery cells, modules, and packs, plus other components such as inverters and on-board chargers. A wide range of climate zones and ambient temperatures can be reproduced – from -40°C to 90°C. Thanks to a 12,000 m2 photovoltaic system, the energy required to test components is provided almost entirely by power generated from renewable resources. With the completion of the eDLP, FEV set new standards for the development of e-mobility solutions.
Software development and digital mobility solutions
At the same time, FEV has established its technology leadership in terms of software development and digital mobility solutions provider: Key-words like Software Defined Vehicles, highly automated and autonomous vehicles and networked mobility solutions are complemented by secure and protected processes to ensure proper system design, safety compliance and cyber security. Our experts are also available to provide high-quality engineering support for vehicle electronics, software integration and data science.