The facility at the company’s Northampton UK headquarters aims to speed up the validation and testing of new battery technologies, parts and assemblies and therefore reduce the time and cost of the development process.
“With electrification, seemingly the automotive industry’s preferred method for achieving stringent future emissions targets, there is a very time- and cost-sensitive need to develop enabling technologies such as the battery module,” said Simon Reader, Mahle Powertrain’s director of engineering services.
One established method of accelerating the testing procedure is to be able to precisely control the testing environment, rapidly cycling the temperature and humidity within a test chamber. The test facility uses Espec Platinous Series PL-3J test chamber, which meets European Council for Automotive R&D (EUCAR) level 6 standard.
This means that it will withstand fire, gas venting and energetic release of materials in real world testing. This helps Mahle can take battery cells, modules and packs and safely assess the performance in terms of storage, thermal characteristics and electrical response under test conditions replicating the on-road and under-the-bonnet experience, as temperatures can be cycled from -40˚C up to 100˚C and humidity is always tightly and consistently controlled.
Having such a test facility alongside the existing manufacturing facility enables rapid prototyping for new battery technologies, from basic battery chemistries to full electronically-managed systems.
“The new facility has been carefully developed to provide an extensive capability that aids battery assessment, test and optimization,” said Reader. “In-house development of such a facility would be time- and cost-prohibitive for OEMs and so it makes perfect sense for MAHLE Powertrain, which can provide an end-to-end powertrain solution, to offer a broad range of expertise and capability that’s able to accelerate development time while reducing cost, in one place.”
“The significant investment into this facility reflects MAHLE Powertrain’s commitment to providing customers with services and solutions that are directly relevant to their requirements,” he said. “The needs of the automotive industry are