MAHLE Powertrain has opened a new state-of-the-art battery development centre in Stuttgart.
The new facility was created specifically to cater for the needs of its European clients. It spans over 1,300 metres squared and it can accommodate all aspects of battery development, from initial prototyping through to small-scale production, with a breadth of capability that covers applications from small e-bikes to large electric trucks. The new facility follows the creation of a vehicle and battery development centre at the company’s Northampton site, which opened in 2022.
According to Simon Reader, MAHLE Powertrain’s Managing Director, in response to growing demand for the company’s expertise in the design, development, testing and optimisation of batteries for electric vehicles, MAHLE Powertrain has decided to open another new facility to support its clients within the European automotive industry.
“The centre is already up and running having completed a number of projects for OEM partners. We have designed the facility with future expansion in mind, with additional services and increased capacity already in the planning stages,” he says.
The facility comprises a fully-featured prototype shop that includes a state-of-the-art dual-robot laser welding station capable of handling active HV battery modules.
A comprehensive test department, capable of testing low- and high-voltage packs up to a maximum of 1200V, 2000A, or 550kW, incorporates two climatic chambers that operate from ‑40°C to +90°C for a full scope of ageing, electrical and thermal tests. The facility can also replicate simulated driving cycles in harsh environments, while self-extinguishing workbenches and water drop tanks maintain the highest standards of safety.
A Complement To Northampton Facility
The new Stuttgart facility expands on the capacity and capabilities that MAHLE already has at its Northampton facility in the UK, where test chambers can accommodate both two- and four-wheel-drive vehicles tested at speeds up to 155mph. Climatic conditions can be simulated from -40°C to +60°C with humidity ranging from 10% to 80%, while pressure control allows altitudes up to 5,000m (16,400ft) to be simulated. Hydrogen-fuelled technologies can be rigorously tested in chambers that monitor and safely vent any escaping gases. The battery testing facility in Northampton has its own substation and dedicated National Grid connection, which gives it the capability to test battery packs of up to 1MW with full fire protection in the event of a thermal runaway.