Seat Latest Automaker Pinning Hopes on In-House Batteries

Volkswagen Group sub-brand Seat has begun construction of its own battery laboratory seeking to take control of powertrain logistics.

It is to be built within the carmaker’s Martorell plant, Barcelona, taking up to the 16,000sq-ft at a cost of more than $8.1M. Dubbed the Test Center Energy (TCE), it will be used to test and develop energy systems for electric and hybrid vehicles.

The laboratory will feature test spaces to evaluate lithium-ion technology, medium and high voltage batteries and a range of different chargers. Plans also include several climatic chambers to enable batteries and modules to be tested under extreme thermal conditions to simulate environments a car may endure during its life cycle.

A workshop will also be setup to carry out simultaneous testing on up to six electrified cars to assess the performance of the energy system, functional safety and integration of functions. Artificial vision systems will also be incorporated into the instrumentation. The construction is due to be completed in April 2021 with a maximum testing capacity of 1.3 megawatts.

Werner Tietz, Seat vice-president for research and development, said: “This new battery lab will enable us to develop the energy systems of future hybrid and electric vehicles, thus contributing to the creation of sustainable electromobility.”

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

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