Mahle Upgrades Wind Tunnel to Cope With BEV Challenges

Mahle has extended it climatic wind tunnel testing capabilities to cover the particular challenges facing BEVs.

Extreme temperatures can pose very different challenges to a BEV than the traditional ICE powered vehicle. The automotive supply giant highlights the example of temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius heat in direct sunlight with little cooling wind are difficult conditions for the temperature-sensitive Li-ion battery. If a BEV is then charged quickly, the battery can become too hot and be damaged.

So, to be able to test this realistically, Mahle has now equipped its climatic wind tunnel in Stuttgart with a direct current fast charging system. The test engineers there can charge BEVs, with up to 350 kilowatts in under five minutes for a 62-mile cruising range, under all climatic conditions, even in extreme heat.

Mahle says the battery must always be kept within the optimum temperature window of 15 up to a maximum of 40 degrees Celsius. The vehicle’s thermal management system, i.e. the complex interaction between the cooling and air conditioning systems, ensures that the sensitive battery does not overheat and ultimately takes damage. At the same time, it must not get too hot in the driver’s cabin.

Jumana Al-Sibai, a member of the Mahle management board and responsible for the business unit thermal management, said: “By expanding the range of services offered by our climatic wind tunnel in the direction of e-mobility, we will be able to support our customers even better in the development of their e-cars in the future. The battery is particularly demanding and Mahle can make a valuable contribution here with its distinctive system expertise in temperature management.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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