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MAHLE Powertrain opens new vehicle and battery test facilities

MAHLE Powertrain has opened two new facilities in Northampton, the result of a £15-million (US$18-million) investment over the last five years (including £3.6 million (US$4.3 million) of UK Government funding), that will deliver much-needed testing capability as the automotive industry accelerates its transition towards decarbonized propulsion.

The purpose-built facilities allow MAHLE Powertrain to support customers with every aspect of development for the future of mobility, permitting the safe testing of vehicles, batteries and hydrogen technologies, under even the most extreme simulated environmental conditions.

The new Vehicle Development Center supports the testing and verification of next-generation electric and hydrogen-fueled vehicles. The facility’s test chambers can accommodate both two- and four-wheel-drive vehicles tested at speeds up to 155mph.

Climatic conditions can be simulated from -40 °C to +60 °C with humidity ranging from 10% to 80%, while pressure control allows altitudes up to 5,000 m (16,400 ft) to be simulated. Hydrogen-fueled technologies can be rigorously tested in chambers that monitor and safely vent any escaping gases.

The new battery testing facility, meanwhile, with its own substation and dedicated National Grid connection, has the capability to test battery packs of up to 1MW with full fire protection in the event of a thermal runaway.


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