Seat has started work on the future EUR7m (US$8.3m) Test Centre Energy (TCE), the new automotive battery lab that will be located at the manufacturer's plant in Martorell.

The new centre will develop and test various energy systems for electric and hybrid vehicles and will have a testing capacity which can reach 1.3 MW simultaneously.

The construction of the TCE is included in the EUR5bn investment plan recently announced by the company.

The future building, whose construction will be completed in April, 2021, will have an area of around 1,500 square metres and include different test spaces for the evaluation of cell modules with lithium-ion technology, medium and high voltage batteries, as well as different chargers used in the entire range of electrified vehicles.

There are also plans for several climatic chambers, which will enable the batteries and modules to be tested in extreme thermal conditions, simulating the different environments a car may experience during its life cycle. It will also feature an electronics lab to design and manufacture prototypes, as well as build interfaces for the test systems.

In addition, a workshop will be set up specifically designed and equipped to carry out tests on electrified vehicles, with the capacity to work simultaneously with up to six cars. This space will be used to conduct various tests related to the performance of the energy system, functional safety and integration of functions. To this end, artificial vision systems will be incorporated into the instrumentation.

"Seat has been committed to the electrification of the company for years and the construction of this new Test Centre Energy in Spain is a firm step in this direction," said Seat VP for R&D, Werner Tietz.

"This new battery lab will enable us to develop the energy systems of future hybrid and electric vehicles, thus contributing to the creation of sustainable electromobility."

The new TCE will join the combined low, medium and high voltage battery lab built by the company in 2010. During the past decade, Seat has carried out national and international research projects and conducted more than 2,000 test cases.

This facility has two climatic chambers and a test power of 200kW.