Saturday, June 10, 2023
News Volkswagen Opens its North American Battery Engineering Lab in Chattanooga

Volkswagen Opens its North American Battery Engineering Lab in Chattanooga

The BEL is part of Volkswagen’s $7.1 billion commitment to the North American region.

  • This will be VW’s in-house testing and high-voltage engineering facility.

  • The Battery Engineering Lab (BEL) represents a $22 million investment.

For many, it feels like it’s taking forever, but every passing day brings Volkswagen closer to delivering a new EV to its many fans and pre-order holders. The multi-step and multi-billion dollar process has now reached an important milestone where the Battery Engineering Lab (BEL) is now open for business.

North American Battery Engineering Lab in Chattanooga | Photo: Volkswagen

“When we began making investments in electrification, it was because we saw a future for our industry and the North American region in which Volkswagen could take a leadership position,” said Scott Keogh, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “The Battery Engineering Lab helps make that vision a reality today, accelerating us decades into the future with advanced battery engineering to support our expanding EV push in North America.”

In fact, the hot Volkswagen ID.4 should be rolling off the Chattanooga assembly line in the coming months. These US-made and North-America-dedicated electric SUVs will benefit from cutting-edge technologies when developing and testing batteries. It is here that engineers will replicate extreme climate conditions and proceed with mechanical tests to optimize EV batteries for safety, durability, and quality.

The BEL features the electrical Multi-Axial Shaker Table (eMAST). According to Volkswagen, this unique machine allows for extreme vibration tests to simulate one average year of driving (15,000 km or about 9,321 mi) in just one week. That’s the equivalent of driving from Orlando to Seattle three times in seven days.

The press release goes on to ad that other primary tests include a drive-in climate chamber that can fit a larger SUV model, and the ability to set temperature ranges between -70° to 130° Celsius (-94° to 266° F) to mirror hundreds of possible climate conditions. The BEL is also equipped with thermal-shock chambers that rapidly expose battery packs to changing hot and cold environments to stress their welds and fasteners, durability tests with certified, super-fine “Arizona” dust to add abrasive elements and test the sealing of battery packs, and water immersion tanks to simulate water ingress scenarios.

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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