Millbrook Expands Battery Test Facility Investment in the UK to Meet Surging Industry Demand

Battery performance test facility at Millbrook Proving Ground view from the air

Millbrook has made a significant investment in the people, equipment and facilities for testing advanced low emission vehicle technology. Its battery and propulsion systems test capabilities help bring new hybrid and battery electric vehicle powertrain technologies to market sooner. It is now installing 12 battery test chambers at Millbrook Proving Ground in the UK, each able to test automotive battery packs up to 1100V, 1400A, 750kW over a temperature range of -40°C to +90°C. These will be controlled via Millbrook Revolutionary Engineering’s test system automation software and system, REPS.

Millbrook focuses on the safety, performance, durability and understanding of battery technology. It is able to replicate battery abuse scenarios and cycles to push a battery to its limits, helping developers to understand, anticipate and eliminate failure modes. Battery abuse tests include mechanical battery shock test, thermal shock, over discharge, over charge, vibration, radiant heat, dust ingress, fire resistance, corrosion and mechanical crush, meeting a range of UN38.3 and ECE R100 battery test requirements.

Examples of electric car battery tests at Millbrook include studying the effects of slow and rapid charge / discharge rate on battery life; how batteries perform in different environmental conditions or at altitude; and replicating electrical, mechanical and thermal duty cycle profiles.

“It is thanks to our customers’ continued commitment to developing ever-advancing propulsion technologies that we continue to invest in these facilities. We are committed to remaining flexible and responsive to our customers’ needs now and in the future.” John Proctor, Senior Manager – Propulsion at Millbrook

Located in central Bedfordshire with nearby motorway and rail links, Millbrook Proving Ground is a geographically convenient test site for customers all over the United Kingdom, Europe and beyond. With a number of other propulsion test facilities on-site, and highly qualified test engineers and technicians on board to assist, Millbrook is a one-stop shop for the development of electric vehicles and propulsion systems. Millbrook also operates sites in Leyland, UK and Michigan, USA, which specialize in e-motor and inverter testing.

Millbrook’s sister companies under the Spectris Test and Measurement umbrella are assisting in the new battery test facility operation: HBM specializes in data acquisition and is integrating its nCode software as a data management tool; Brüel & Kjær Sound & Vibration (BKSV) is adding a range of electromagnetic shakers and NVH analysis tools. BKSV and HBM have complementary expertise across the measurement chain and the two companies will merge their activities from January 2019, to form a new company called HBK (Hottinger, Brüel & Kjær).

Spectris as a group offers a wide range of battery testing and management solutions. These cover everything from raw materials analysis and supply, to characterization of cells and modules for optimum pack configuration, to homologation and testing of the complete vehicle for WLTP electric drive cycle, durability and crash safety. All of these services can be accessed via the vehicle specialists at Millbrook to provide a seamless turnkey solution.