Mahle has commissioned a test bench for electric drives in Stuttgart, Germany.

The equipment will be used to develop and test e-axles and e-drive units for a range of electric and hybrid vehicles.

The first test on a unit was successfully performed on behalf of an unnamed customer a few days ago. Mahle has invested around EUR3m (US$3.6m) in the new facility.

“With the commissioning of the test bench, Mahle continues the targeted expansion of its global range of services for e-mobility,” said Mahle VP Corporate Research and Advanced Engineering, Martin Berger.

“Both our customers and our developers can now benefit from an ultra-modern facility, which is one of only very few in Germany.” 

In future, the new e-test bench in Fellbach will be used on behalf of international customers to carry out functional development work, simulate dynamic, transient modes of operation, perform efficiency measurements and torque vectoring and simulate wheel slip scenarios.

Operating map application and data population, testing of high- and low-voltage systems and the investigation of thermal influences are also among the scope of services. Also, Mahle components can be tested in the context of a whole system.

The test facility includes an e-axle unit consisting of two oppositely mounted load machines equipped with permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors. The set-up can handle 350 kW per dynamometer and peak torque handling capacity of 8,400 Nm (7,000 Nm continuous torque).

Separate battery simulators for applications ranging from 48 V to 1,000 V and a high-speed power analyzer system allow for performance mapping, performance characterisation and efficiency studies to be carried out. 

In addition, the new facility has a thermal conditioning system, which provides a temperature range from –30oC to +130oC for the simulation of vehicle operating conditions. This ensures the drives tested in the facility will function reliably under the widest variety of climatic conditions around the world.

The time an e-drive spends on the test bench depends on the specific customer requirements and ranges from around 200 hours to test individual functions through to a whole year when endurance testing is required.