Source: Mahle Powertrain

Engineering services company Mahle Powertrain has opened a new test base for electric vehicle (EV) battery modules at its technical centre in Northampton, UK.

“In-house development of such a facility would be time and cost-prohibitive for OEMs,” said Simon Reader, Mahle’s director of engineering services.

The new test centre offers a range of expertise and capability in one place, which accelerates development time and reduces costs while aiding battery assessment, tests and optimisation, he added.

“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,” he said.

Mahle’s new unit enables battery system testing under simulated drive-cycle conditions to evaluate the performance of cells, modules and battery packs with steady-state testing of open-circuit voltage, storage capacity and thermal characteristics.

There will be a climate-controlled environment for real-world simulated testing, as well as the scope to strip down and disassemble modules and compact vehicle batteries for post-test assessment.

The overarching goal, according to Mahle, is to streamline the test and validation stages of emerging technologies.

Coronavirus closures
Stuttgart-based parent group Mahle, which produces powertrain and air conditioning components and systems, says it is closing all of its 70 European production sites by March 25, with only core administrative and development functions continuing, in response to the spread of Covid-19 and numerous OEMs suspending production.

Distribution centres for the aftermarket are excluded from the shutdowns to secure supply of spare parts to repair shops.

“We are facing an extreme situation of an unforeseeable scale, and it is completely unclear how things will develop,” said CEO and management board chairman Jörg Stratmann.