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August 14, 2020

VW invests in battery pack engineering at Chattanooga

Volkswagen in the US says it has begun expanding its Chattanooga factory to build a North American centre for electric vehicles – not only for assembly, but for engineering future EVs.

By Sam Duke

Volkswagen in the US says it has begun expanding its Chattanooga factory to build a North American centre for electric vehicles – not only for assembly, but for engineering future EVs.

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Volkswagen’s Engineering and Planning Center (EPC) in Chattanooga will feature a high-voltage laboratory designed to develop and test electric vehicle cells and battery packs for upcoming models assembled in the US.

Volkswagen is planning to use battery cells manufactured by SKI in Georgia for the EVs it builds in Chattanooga.

“There are two ways that auto companies approach the development of electric vehicle batteries,” said Wolfgang Maluche, Vice President of Engineering at Volkswagen of America. “A lot of them will farm out the development and testing of batteries to another company, and some will actually do the work of developing and testing in-house. We are doing the latter.”

The EPC plans to break ground on the lab soon, with the goal of being fully operational by spring 2021. It will feature equipment including pressure testers, explosion-rated climate chambers and a custom multi-axis shaker table (MAST), which is designed to test the integrity of vehicle components in some of the roughest conditions they might face on the road.

Most automotive labs have MASTs, but almost none were designed for electric vehicle batteries, VW says. EV battery packs are the largest and heaviest component in an EV, typically weighing hundreds of pounds and running the width of the vehicle.

“The battery is not only shaking; it is going through a series of harsh conditions to test its durability in a variety of possible environments, from the South Pole to the Sahara,” said Jason Swager, the Director of Electrical Development. “We needed to build a MAST that could withstand the immense force and frequency that we need to test these batteries.”

To run a MAST at such high frequencies, Volkswagen says it had to design its own tool rather than using an outside supplier. The supports for the MAST will be buried 12 feet under the lab’s floor and buttressed with concrete to help withstand the forces in use. Volkswagen’s new lab will be only the second location in the country with a MAST of this size.

Beyond the tools, Chattanooga’s high-voltage lab will have other unique features. In line with Volkswagen’s goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, the lab is planned to be built to LEED standards for environmental impacts, through steps such as a battery-to-grid connection that sends unused energy back to utilities.

“This lab was planned to be as sustainable as possible,” said Maluche.

See also: VW starts converting and expanding Emden plant for EVs

Free Report
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How attractive are current investment opportunities in Europe?

Europe has been identified as one of the most favorable regions for investors, seeing high investment activity in the past year. Most of these investments have been through Debt Offering, valued at close to $700 billion. The region has provided attractive investments in a diverse set of companies. Companies who tend to major themes such Digital Media, Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, E-commerce, and Big Data are recording the highest number of deals, with Digital Media recording close to 2,000 deals. However, GlobalData’s whitepaper offers a full view of the market, analyzing less successful or attractive points of investment as well, examining statistics on Equity Offering investments and PE/VC deals. Understand how government agencies for economies around the world use GlobalData Explorer to:  
  • Track the M&A and Capital Raising volumes into their target market
  • Identify the top sectors in the target market attracting the investments
  • For any investment segment, identify the top Investors inside and outside the target economy that are already investing in the Segment
  • Assess and showcase the growth potential for various Industries in the target economy
Don’t miss out on key market insights that can help optimize your next investment – read the report now.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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