MLADA BOLESLAV, Czech Republic—Skoda Auto, a leading European car manufacturer, recently produced its 100,000th battery for plug-in hybrid models at its flagship factory here. Skoda, a division of Volkswagen AG, produces batteries that are used in vehicles made under Audi, SEAT and VW nameplates, in addition to Skoda products such as the Octavia iV and Superb iV.
Skoda produces an average of 800 high-voltage batteries a day in a 2,000-square-meter facility. “It takes approximately two hours to manufacture a battery, during which it passes through 66 different workstations,” says Christian Bleiel, head of component production at Skoda.
“Particularly heavy or awkward components are handled by a total of 13 robots,” explains Bleiel. “They are designed for weights ranging between 210 and 500 kilograms. They feed the battery modules into the production line and load finished batteries onto pallets.
“On the production line, the modules for the left and right halves of a battery pack are processed separately,” Bleiel points out. “They are provided with a special heat-conducting film, which dissipates heat and helps to cool the assembled battery system.
“In addition, a liquid coolant is added between the two modules before they are joined in a solid aluminum housing,” adds Bleiel. “Besides the electronics, the battery pack is also provided with all the necessary cable bundles, seals and brackets.”
According to Bleiel, each battery is subjected to extensive testing before being installed in a vehicle. “This includes checking the cooling circuit and ensuring that there are no leaks,” he explains. “To ensure that the process works reliably, specially prepared test batteries are introduced at regular intervals.
“Once a leak test has been performed, electrical functions are assessed on a total of 13 test benches,” says Bleiel. “This includes the interaction of high-voltage and low-voltage components, as well as a test of the electrical insulation. Finally, each battery system is charged to a portion of its maximum capacity.”
Skoda is gradually electrifying its entire model range and plans to invest more than 1 billion euros in new all-electric and partially electrified vehicles, as well as battery production, by 2025.