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Mahle has long been known as a supplier of pistons and other components for internal combustion engines.

While it still is, it is interesting to note that the company has recognized the shift toward electric propulsion and to that end, for example, has installed a test bench in its facility in Fellbach, Germany (near Stuttgart).

Mahle test bench

Although this might resemble a dyno facility for internal combustion engines, this setup is actually for e-axles and e-drive units at a Mahle facility in Germany. (Images: Mahle)

While it might not seem to be all that notable, know that the company has invested approximately €3-million in a test facility engineered to test e-axles and e-drive units for electric and hybrid vehicles.

The Gear

The facility includes two oppositely located dynos with permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors with a nominal handling power of 350-kW each. There is a peak torque-handling capacity of 8,400 Nm (7,000 Nm continuous).

In addition to which there are battery simulators ranging in capacity from 48 to 1,000 V and a high-speed analyzer system for performance mapping, performance characterization and efficiency studies.

The Mahle test bench facility has a thermal conditioning system with a temperature range from -30°C to +130°C.

A Global Footprint

Dr. Martin Berger, vice president of Corporate Research and Advanced Engineering at Mahle, said, “With the commissioning of the test bench, Mahle continue the targeted expansion of its global range of services for e-mobility.”

It should be noted that Mahle is looking at various propulsion systems. Speaking in October 2020, Dr. Jörg Stratmann, chairman of the Mahle Management board and CEO, said, “Viewed from an international perspective, there will not be one single powertrain of the future. That’s why Mahle is continuing to follow its Dual Strategy: electrification, development of the fuel cell, and the use of hydrogen and alternative fuels in an intelligently electrified combustion engine.”

Mahle China

Mahle e-mobility development center scheduled to open December 2020 in China.

Hydrogen-powered vehicles are generally powered by electric motors, so the test bench is applicable for them, as well.

Because there is a growing demand for “new energy vehicles” in the China market, Mahle is completing an e-mobility center in Suzhou, which will include mechatronics, thermal management and fluid management capabilities to address Chinese requirements.

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