Mahle Powertrain opens vehicle and battery testing facilities

Mahle Powertrain has opened two new facilities in Northampton which will provide testing capability for carmakers as they transition to carbon-free propulsion.

The new Vehicle Development Center supports testing and verification of next-generation electric and hydrogen vehicles, allowing manufacturers to test two- and four-wheel-drive vehicles, all without the need for a grueling program of international travel.

It can replicate the conditions found in the coldest arctic climates and the hottest arid deserts, the humidity of a tropical rainforest or the pressure felt on the highest peaks.

Additionally, hydrogen fueled technologies can be rigorously tested in chambers that monitor and safely vent any escaping gases.

Meanwhile, the new battery test facility, with its own substation and dedicated connection to the national grid, has the capacity to test batteries up to 1 MW with full fire protection in the event of a runaway. thermal.

Its test chambers can accommodate two- and four-wheel drive vehicles tested at speeds of up to 155 mph.

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 5,000 m (16,400 ft) to be simulated. .

The facilities are the result of a £15 million investment program over the past five years, including £3.6 million from the UK Local Growth Fund and the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP).

Simon Reader, Managing Director of Mahle Powertrain, said: “We are extremely proud of our new test facilities which complete our end-to-end development process.

“As the industry accelerates the development of a new generation of vehicles that will offer carbon-neutral solutions for the transport sector, this is creating a huge demand for testing facilities.

“Our new center has been designed with both battery and fuel-powered vehicles of the future in mind and offers a range of capabilities almost unique in the world.”