Lotus' consultancy division - Lotus Engineering, has revealed an unusual approach to test batteries - containerized battery test facilities under a pilot project named BattCon, an abbreviation of Battery Containerised Test Facility.
The BattCons are envisioned to assess energy storage solutions - fast, cost-effective and efficient - especially for the EVs.
According to Lotus, the walk-in BattCon laboratories can handle cells, modules as well as packs:
"It will allow Lotus Engineering to carry out various battery cell, module and pack characterisation tests, performance evaluations, and component and lifetime testing under controlled conditions. Early feasibility study support and validation of mature designs for implementation into new vehicles will also be available."
"Services available include capacity determination, resistance mapping, current and power mapping, open circuit voltage determination and heat capacity. Lifetime testing is comprised of low-voltage cycling, high-voltage cycling, self-discharge determination, storage ageing, cycle ageing, drive cycle ageing and orientation. One of the three Lotus containers features an ambient chamber, the temperature of which can be raised or lowered to replicate climatic extremes around the world."
It's a pretty interesting idea to build such test facilities using a standard 12-metre shipping container, which can be easily be packed up and transported as a mobile testing unit.
Lotus itself will use three BattCons at two sites, as part of the pilot scheme:
- at Lotus HQ in Hethel, Norfolk
- at the new Lotus Advanced Technology Centre in Wellesbourne, West Midlands
Lotus Engineering is also open to sell containerized battery test facilities:
"For clients, Lotus Engineering will offer an EV safety-compliant workshop facility with specialist staff experienced in testing batteries. Companies new to the EV field, and those who would otherwise need to invest in additional test facilities, will have access to a fast, efficient and cost-effective solution to develop new technologies and speed up their route to market. "
Its parent company intends to use BattCons to support the developments of "a new range of performance vehicles" - electrified of course.
According to the press release, the pilot project is co-funded by the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF), part of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC); Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation; the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for International Trade (DIT).