Battery cell testing facility could play its part in helping to improve consumer confidence in the performance of electric vehicles.
Recently, Britain’s largest car manufacturer revealed that it would build an electric version of the Jaguar XJ saloon at its Castle Bromwich factory. Despite investing in electric vehicle manufacturing, electronic drive units and battery assembly plants in the Midlands, JLR has called for the creation of multiple “gigafactories” in the UK to provide the large volumes of battery cells that it will need. The car giant is calling on this requirement in the present climate of an absence of major UK manufacturers resulting in the majority of battery cells being sourced in Asian countries.
Welcoming JLR’s investment in electric vehicles as a vital step forward to overcome the current lull in demand for alternative powertrains, automotive engineering, research and testing organisation, HORIBA MIRA is encouraging the industry, through robust testing and development, to address the current issues deterring consumers from opting for such vehicles. This includes customer perception on so-called range anxiety as well as the overall cost of electric and other alternative fuel vehicles.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that sales of cars with alternative fuels, including battery electric vehicles and hybrids, were down 11.8% in June compared with the same month in 2018. This is against the expected and desired trend to reach Government targets for electrification.
Call for greater adoption
Reacting to JLR’s announcement to invest over £1bn in electric car production, HORIBA MIRA is now calling on the industry as a whole to accelerate the development and public adoption of such vehicles in the UK.
According to Greg Harris, Global Electrification Services Lead at HORIBA MIRA, Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to the future development of EVs is a positive move for the UK automotive industry.
“However, as an industry, more needs to be done to overcome challenges of customer perception, which is something we are consistently working on to ensure the next generation of vehicles are safer, cleaner and smarter,” he says.
HORIBA MIRA’s investment strategy in test facilities for electric vehicles and battery systems includes the recently-launched Advanced Battery Development Suite (ABDS); a specialist facility that enables companies to perform testing on full battery packs and battery pack components both physically and in simulation.
The use of such innovations as climatic chambers for assessing the effect of different climatic conditions on range can help to encourage adoption by demonstrating EV range capabilities in different conditions and increasing the accuracy of in-vehicle range prediction tools.
According to Harris, the UK’s capabilities in producing cleaner vehicles has expanded rapidly in recent years but consumer appetite still has a long way to go.
“The only way to truly increase the number of people willing to make the transition to electric cars is by investing in a rigorous development, testing and evaluation programme that adequately communicates the latest technological advances to consumers.”
HORIBA MIRA has been working with low carbon propulsion and battery systems for over 15 years and much of what the organisation does relates to understanding the performance and characteristics of battery cells.
“Our ABDS enables us to carry out such activities at extremely high resolution and accuracy, and also allows us to investigate the energy efficiency and durability of EV batteries – a move that is critical in demonstrating the long-term viability and credibility of these vehicles to the end customer,” concludes Harris.