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Clarios testing batteries in the most extreme sub-zero conditions

Clarios, manufacturers of Varta batteries, is further expanding its research and development efforts at its Hanover site in Germany.

In addition to the existing vehicle laboratory, test equipment has been expanded to include a cold chamber. Two vehicles can be cooled down to -40 °C in the chamber to test the performance of new and old batteries to their limits.

The purpose of this is to analyse and improve the starting capability and the start-stop function of the batteries at extreme sub-zero temperatures.

The vehicle laboratory and cold chamber are part of the engineering department and are used for product development and improvement.

The primary focus is on the interaction of the battery with the electronics of the entire vehicle – regardless of whether it is an internal combustion engine or a battery electric vehicle.

A 12-volt battery is also an essential component in an electric vehicle. The high-voltage li-ion battery supplies the powertrain, while the batteries from the ever-growing Clarios xEV portfolio power the internal 12-volt electrical system, including crucial power and safety functions.

Clarios says its leading testing capabilities also address OEM specific customer requirements and requests. This includes, for example, monitoring the battery performance at engine start in a particular vehicle and over the entire service life. The batteries are artificially aged for this specific purpose.

Various life cycles as well as long-distance and short-distance journeys are simulated, depending on the usage profile. This rigorous testing to understand the full capabilities of the battery helps ensure the right battery selection to meet the vehicle application needs.

The cold chamber and the wiring system laboratory not only serve the Hanover facility, but thanks to a closely knit global network of Clarios R&D centres, projects can be implemented throughout Europe, the US and China.

Testing time varies from project to project: from one day to two years. Employees research how the battery reacts under a wide range of conditions. Measurements are often taken on site under real-life conditions over a period of years.

Markus Hoh, head of the Clarios vehicle laboratory in Hanover, says: “We don’t see ourselves as just producers, we also aim to actively support and advise our customers as a provider of technology solutions and expertise.”