Vehicle OEM Volkswagen of America, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, begins building its first lithium-ion battery testing facility outside of Europe or Asia to ensure “better tuned” cells for the US electric vehicle market.
The $22 million Battery Engineering Lab at its Chattanooga Engineering and Planning Center in the US state of Tennessee will test and validate electric vehicle cells and battery packs for the North American market.
Engineers will test and optimise US made battery cells at the laboratory, as well as exploring how to integrate the battery with the vehicle and more ways to integrate US produced components into the production process.
The laboratory will include pressure and immersion testers, corrosion chambers, five explosion-rated climate chambers and a custom, two-ton multi-axis shaker table. The facility will also feature regenerative load cyclers that can return energy to the building or grid to be as efficient as possible.
The laboratory will form part of a hub that includes a new 564,000 square-foot EV production plant and 198,000 square-foot battery pack assembly facility.
The company’s battery testing and validation takes place in laboratories in Braunschweig and Wolfsburg in Germany, and Shanghai and Changchun in China.
Dr. Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner, EVP and chief engineering officer, Volkswagen of America, said: “Testing batteries in the US at this lab helps us get vehicles to market faster, at lower cost and better tuned for U.S. customers.
“It also lets us ensure the safety and reliability of our batteries in conditions US customers encounter every day.”