Automotive Battery Powerhouse

| Transport

Testing can be performed at battery component level or on full battery packs

Test facility at automotive research organisation extends its capabilities to battery technology with the opening of its Advanced Battery Development Suite.

The HORIBA MIRA automotive engineering, development and test facility is constantly adapting its services to meet the rapidly changing environment of the automotive industry. The company’s latest investment has seen £2 million being sunk into high voltage battery engineering and testing with its Advanced Battery Development Suite (ABDS).

Designed to provide test and development services for battery packs and other components for hybrid and electric vehicles, the facility enables HORIBA MIRA to perform testing of full battery packs and battery pack components in both physical and simulation domains. The testing areas range from characterising cell behaviour, verifying software control algorithms and exercising both prototype and production battery packs. HORIBA MIRA will also be able to provide system level verification using ABDS’ integrated Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL) equipment and its EMC facilities.

Integrated test facilities

By integrating the power capabilities of the ABDS facility with the company’s independently UK Accreditation Service audited EMC facilities, HORIBA MIRA can now offer a full suite of testing services from battery components through to complete battery packs. This includes EMC and electrical transient testing in simulated real world driving conditions in both a charge and discharge state at up to 800A.

The 1,875 sq ft test centre is capable of high resolution cell characterisation, as well as testing battery cells and modules through representative charge and discharge cycles at a wide range of temperatures to provide fully representative testing profiles. The Development Suite provides unique levels of testing capability for the UK, with the ability to test battery packs at up to 600kW, ±1200A and 1000V with ground-breaking resolution.

According to HORIBA MIRA’s Managing Director, Declan Allen, the company is dedicated to reducing vehicle emissions and the new facilities strengthen that commitment through expanding the business’ battery and electric vehicle engineering and testing capabilities.

“This investment will enable us to deliver essential testing to support manufacturers and automotive suppliers in developing hybrid and battery systems,” he said.

China partnership

Within a month of opening the ABDS facility, a strategic cooperation deal was struck with Chinese electric vehicle company, CH-Auto. Already making its mark on the automotive market with the Qian Tu electric sports car, CH-Auto is now looking to capitalise on the growing market for electric vehicles generally. HORIBA MIRA will be the key engineering service provider for the development and testing of CH-Auto’s new vehicles and future products.

Commenting on the deal with CH-Auto, Declan Allen noted that China is the largest market within the global boom in electric vehicles. “With our expertise and facilities in both the UK and China, we are in a great position to work alongside CH-Auto and other automotive manufacturers to bring their new products to market,” he said.

According to Nick Fell, Engineering Director at HORIBA MIRA, there is consensus now on electrification having a dominant role in the reduction of transport CO2 and other emissions.

“With that in mind, the focus is now turning to increasing the efficiency of electric vehicles. Our holistic approach to electrical and thermal energy efficiency, and our world class technical skills and facilities put us at the forefront of this technology,” said Fell.

Jonathan Newell
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