Valmet Automotive, one of the world’s largest car contract manufacturers, this autumn will start its first large-scale production of electric vehicle battery packs in Salo/Finland, in a former Nokia plant.
The Finish company didn't reveal who will be the customer. Valmet Automotive has been engaged in electrification for about ten years, producing the Think City in 2009 and the original Fisker Karma in 2011-2012, but nothing rechargeable since then. The company's website shows that China's CATL is a lithium-ion battery cell partner.
"Valmet Automotive is actively expanding its operations and service offering in electric mobility solutions, based on the company strategy. The Salo plant is intended as a major step in strategy implementation, producing large volumes of battery packs for the needs of automotive industry."
According to Valmet Automotive, the plan is to "become a major player in the field of electric vehicle solutions".
E-DRIVE ENGINEERING: Full coverage of the value-added chain for battery engineering. Tier 1 supplier for electric vehicle battery systems. E-drive integration as engineering partner for e-mobility.
E-DRIVE TESTING: Test facilities for high-voltage batteries and their performance. Life cycle and safety tests. Test coordination for customers’ markets. Battery storage and logistics.
EV SYSTEMS AND COMPONENTS: Battery packs, e-drive control units, powertrains and contract manufacturing for entire e-vehicles. Years-long experience also in non-automotive industries.
One supporting investment announced yesterday was a new €7 million Battery Test Center in Bad Friedrichshall in Germany. Full test capacity will be available as early as February 2020, "massively expanding test options for its own group as well as a service provider for the automotive industry".
Dr. Robert Hentschel, Managing Director Valmet Automotive Engineering GmbH emphasizes:
“We appear on the market as a development partner for companies in the automotive industry. With our new Test Center we are expanding in the Industry much-needed test capacities for batteries and batterie systems of electric vehicles,“
The location of the site is within sight of the Audi plant Neckarsulm. Here are more details:
Valmet Automotive and AVL are breaking new ground
In order to be able to offer these additional test services in a timely manner, Valmet Automotive has broken new ground with testbed specialist AVL. So Valmet Automotive is expanding its existing battery testing capacities by adding four state-of-the-art AVL battery testbeds in container-based design. In comparison to traditional testbed engineering, the container-based design has the advantage of allowing testbed setup and pre-installation. This means in practice: during the past months, the container with dimensions of 15 meters in length, five meters in width an four meters in height each, were set-up and equipped at AVL in Graz to standards set by Valmet Automotive. Prepared in this way, the containers will be delivered in some weeks and built up on an area at Valmet Automotive in Bad Friedrichshall. By February 2020, the full test capacity will be available.
As Stefan Sommer, Director of Testing Valmet Automotive, showed in a presentation at the groundbreaking ceremony, the containers will be set up on an area of 1.500 square meters. Cells, modules and complete battery systems will be tested for environmental compatibility as well as function and safety.
The BTC is characterized in particular in the following points:
- Flexible and pragmatic engagement of multispecialized professionals within the complete product development process.
- State of the Art battery test equipment of AVL with a unique safety concept
- Power for the highest demand of tomorrow with peak performances of up to 3.200A / 1.200V / 1.600kW
- a salt spray chamber (16m3) with active energization of high-voltage battery systems of fully electric vehicles
The Bad Friedrichshall location, which is within sight of the Audi plant Neckarsulm, has a long tradition for Valmet Automotive, albeit under changing names. The origin goes back to the beginning of the eighties with the founding of IVM Engineering. In 2007, the resulting IVM Automotive was taken over by Semcon AB, while its engineering division, with around 800 employees, was taken over by Valmet Automotive in 2017. In addition to testing and prototyping, the company also operates body and powertrain development as well as battery system development in Bad Friedrichshall: “The deep testing expertise at the site was a major reason to locate the Battery Test Center here,” says Dr. Robert Hentschel.