Volkswagen has begun construction of a Battery Engineering Lab at its Chattanooga Engineering and Planning Center. The $22-million facility will test and validate EV cells and battery packs for the North American region.
The new lab will join VW’s under-construction EV production expansion and battery pack assembly facility to form the company’s hub for EV production and engineering. Volkswagen will test and optimize Georgia-manufactured battery cells at the new lab. This testing will include batteries for the new ID.4 all-electric SUV, scheduled to begin US production in 2022.
The engineering lab is also part of Volkswagen’s effort to localize all aspects of vehicle development and production, which lowers production costs and streamlines development cycles. Currently, battery testing and validation take place in Germany and China. Testing and validating battery components in Chattanooga will allow engineers to more quickly apply lessons learned to local production.
“Testing batteries in the US at this world-class lab helps us get vehicles to market faster, at a lower cost and better tuned for US customers,” said VP Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner. “It also lets us ensure the safety and reliability of our batteries in conditions US customers encounter every day.”
VW engineers will test battery components and the integration of the battery with the vehicle while looking for more ways to integrate locally produced components into the production process. The lab will include pressure and immersion testers, corrosion chambers, five explosion-rated climate chambers and a custom, two-ton multi-axis shaker table, which is designed to test the integrity of vehicle components in some of the roughest conditions they might face on the road. The facility will also feature regenerative load cyclers that can return energy to the building or grid to maximize energy efficiency.