Heavyweight Battery Testing

| Environmental Testing

Scania has invested in large chamber battery testing facilities at its Södertälje site in Sweden

HGV manufacturer Scania has built a battery laboratory for the development and testing of batteries for heavy vehicles using purpose built battery test instruments

European bus and truck manufacturer, Scania is driving the shift to e-mobility for commercial vehicles and has built a 1,000-square-meter laboratory including three 250-square-meter test halls for battery cells, modules and packs to help in achieving this aim. The main focus is on battery performance and lifespan evaluation in various climatic conditions from -40°C to 70°C.

The new battery laboratory complements a smaller facility with a climatic chamber for battery pack testing that is extremely flexible because it is basically “outdoors.” With this lab, Scania can test the performance of battery packs on operational electric trucks and buses without removing batteries. Vehicles are parked close to the lab and connected to the testing equipment, or the powertrain can be tested in a huge climatic chamber instead of running real-life winter tests outdoors. Furthermore, Scania’s engineers examine the best operational conditions for the battery, considering things such as temperature setpoint, state of charge window and charging power profile for tailored utilisation in optimising battery life and customer needs.

According to Håkan Örnhed, Head of Test Cell Operation Battery and E-components at Scania, the company see an increasing need to intensify battery testing and tailored deployment. By using these modern facilities with appropriate test instrumentation, the laboratory set-up is meeting Scania’s requirements.

“The need for relevant skills and knowledge in battery usage and lifecycle optimisation is more important than ever before. Here in the lab, we have the prerequisites to perform our very best in this area,” says Örnhed.

Test Instrumentation

A key element in the new Södertälje facility in Sweden is the Keysight Scienlab Battery Test Solution for cells, modules and packs, coupled with a comprehensive safety concept. In addition to Keysight’s Energy Storage Discover Software for test and control, Scania has also made use of Keysight’s PathWave Lab Operations for Battery Test, an integrated, web-based lab management platform that optimises workflow, test throughput and data management. This enables Scania to optimise planning and coordination of its battery laboratory by managing all resources, including lab personnel, test systems and devices under test (DUTs).

According to Thomas Goetzl, vice president and general manager for Keysight’s Automotive and Energy Solutions business unit, the goal is to provide comprehensive test systems that help Scania to accelerate and improve its development activities.

“Our collaborative approach with Scania was to challenge the state-of-the-art, which enabled us to gain insights from a world-leading vehicle manufacturer who strives to discover new edges of e-mobility use-cases and technology,” says Goetzl.

The Scienlab SL1700A Series for high voltage battery packs of up to 1500 V was produced specifically for automotive and industrial application. It is based on high voltage SiC technology and provides more power and higher voltages in less space, when compared to similar systems.

Battery packs are complex systems involving high voltages and currents, electrical and mechanical components, a cooling system and a battery management system (BMS). All components require thorough testing to draw conclusions about the durability, range, efficiency and heating of the pack.

In it for the long haul

The Södertälje battery testing hall will be supporting Scania’s drive into the development and production of heavy goods vehicles with electric powertrains capable of sustaining long haul operations.

This new generation of vehicles is part of a wider approach to electrified haulage that will open the door to electrification for a vast number of customers and applications. With 624 kWh of batteries installed, Scania provides the means for a major shift regarding electric trucks and their operability in regional long-haul operations.

Christian Levin, Scania’s CEO says that Scania is now increasing its range in every dimension by offering new opportunities for a vast selection of customers and the whole transport industry. “These trucks are part of solutions that contain all the capabilities that a transport industry longing for electrification is asking for,” he says.

Scania’s new BEV truck generation is based on the concepts of modularity, sustainability and a total operating economy with the potential to match or even exceed what can be expected from conventional trucks.

With the new Scania trucks, customers will be able to operate rigid vehicles or tractor-and-trailer combinations such as temperature-controlled food transport. Ranges vary with weight, configuration and topography, but a 4×2 tractor with six batteries can expect up to 350 km between each charge, with an average speed of 80 km/h on motorways. Fixed routes that provide for planned charging at the home depot or at the destination are most favourable. Opportunity charging during the driver’s mandatory rest will of course increase the operative range.

The charging capability is up to 375 kW, which means that an hour of charging will add some 270 to 300 km of range, as a rule of thumb. The continuous power output level for a Scania 45 R or S is 410 kW (equivalent to some 560 hp).

Electric HGV Proving Ground

Scania is further developing its Södertälje facility with a new proving ground into which the company plans to sink around a billion SEK (around £80m).

Future vehicles will be tested at the proving ground and driven as part of Scania’s research and development operations.

The company has the ambition to be a leader within electrification of heavy vehicles and also strengthen its ability in autonomous vehicles over time. This will take large investments to stay at the forefront so the Scania evaluated and examined the possibility of building a test track adapted for future vehicles to meet the demand in autonomous trucks and electrification.

According to Anders Williamsson, Head of Industrial Operations at Scania, the company is continuing to invest locally in Södertälje to be close to the whole supply chain with production, development and testing all in one place.

“It is vital for Scania, but also important for the cluster of suppliers in the greater Stockholm region and for Sweden’s ability to take the lead in the development of sustainable transport solutions,” says Williamsson.

The work on building the new proving ground is expected to last until at least 2026

Jonathan Newell
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