New Mahle test facility for EV battery development and optimization

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Mahle Powertrain has opened a dedicated facility for testing and development of electrified powertrain battery packs and modules.

The hub based at the manufacturer’s Northampton, UK, technical center, houses climate-controlled cells to help the company simulate a repeatable real-world testing environment, along with a post-test strip-down area for assessment and disassembly of modules and compact vehicle batteries.

With growing time and cost pressures mounting on vehicle and parts manufacturers, Mahle aims to streamline the test and validation stages of emerging technologies.

Simon Reader, Mahle’s director of engineering services, commented, “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.

“The new facility has been carefully developed to provide an extensive capability that aids battery assessment, test and optimization. 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.”

Alongside the new post-assessment analysis, the battery assembly and testing plant enables simulated drivecycle test conditions to be recreated, allowing engineers to test battery systems in real-world environments. The testing remit of the powertrain brand includes the ability to assess cells, modules and battery packs for storage capacity, thermal characteristics and voltage response under high discharge, among other tests.

Furthermore, the facility enables assembly of new prototype units, which can then be subjected to dynamic test cycles and steady-state characterization testing, with or without battery management systems in place. Tests can be conducted at temperatures ranging from -400C to 1000C with precise humidity control.

Reader concluded, “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. The needs of the automotive industry are evolving and by working with a trusted powertrain partner for testing or development work, OEMs are able to combat challenges while streamlining new vehicle development processes.”

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Rachel's career in journalism has seen her write for various titles at UKi Media & Events within automotive, tire and marine. Currently editor of ATTI, her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the groundbreaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of transportation.

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