Getting the battery right is the key to success in the electric vehicle (EV) business. Around the world, however, there is some skepticism towards EVs due to some unfortunate incidents of fire and battery explosions (in EVs). There is a general feeling that major car manufacturers are not showing adequate interest in the battery as they seem to outsource their manufacturing and research to third-party companies.
The big Swedish commercial vehicle company Scania (now part of the Volkswagen group) is, thankfully, proving to be different. The company based in Södertälje (near Stockholm) has set up a battery laboratory to physically test cells, modules and battery packs.
This battery laboratory will operate alongside Scania’s battery assembly plant in Södertälje. Scania, which has invested around €15.5 million in the new lab, says there is a need to step up battery testing and custom deployment in the electrification journey.
“Safety is one of Scania’s core values, and when it comes to batteries, the risks are literally invisible. A battery is always live and an irregularity can be fatal. That’s why we work hard to learn how to handle batteries correctly,” said the Swedish company.
Battery tested for different weather conditions
“With a battery factory close to our assembly line nearing completion and a test track optimized for electric and autonomous vehicles on the way, a battery lab in our Research and Development facility was on the wish list. And now it’s a reality,” the company said.
Scania’s battery lab can carry out tests on 170 objects simultaneously, focusing on battery performance and life assessment in varying weather conditions from -40°C to 70°C. Technicians will examine and identify the best operating conditions for the battery, considering items such as temperature setpoint, state of charge window, and charge energy profile for custom use in optimizing battery life and customer needs.
The facility consists of three 250 square meter test rooms for battery cells, modules and packages, and each area is its own fire compartment for safety. The increase in capacity compared to the ‘old’ laboratory is enormous. And it is necessary, as it will soon be able to offer vehicles with batteries with a capacity of 1,000 kWh, Scania said. “This is a real development. We currently have 20 test rigs, and their individual capacity is huge.”
With this lab, Scania can test the performance of batteries in operational electric trucks and buses without removing the batteries. Vehicles are parked near the laboratory and connected to test equipment.
Jakob Öman, Head of Battery Cell & Module Testing, was quoted as saying: “Scania will have an amazing delivery in the 2020s as we set the specification for our own battery cell with our demands and needs considered, design and produce our own battery pack. packages and do 100% of all the planning and software on our own.”