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SEEL: Sweden’s electric transport test bed to speed up e-mobility

SEEL: Sweden's electric transport test bed to speed up e-mobility
One of SEEL's three future plants. Illustration: SEEL

[Chalmers University of Technology] Chalmers University of Technology and RISE are now commencing construction of Sweden’s electromobility test center: Swedish Electric Transport Laboratory (SEEL). Electrification of the transport sector is to be speeded up at SEEL’s three plants in Gothenburg, Nykvarn and Borås .

Through close collaboration between the twin owners Chalmers University of Technology and RISE, the Swedish government and the industrial partners CEVT, Scania, Volvo Cars and the Volvo Group, the test center will be a key resource – open to collaboration with players throughout Europe – in terms of making Sweden a world leader in the field of electromobility. Together, the governmental allocation, the industry partners’ commitments and proprietorial responsibility on the part of RISE and Chalmers will allow an investment of SEK 1.3 bn in the test center.

“Sweden has a long tradition of vehicle manufacture, and we are at the same time one of the world’s most innovative countries. Through SEEL we are making use of these strengths to electrify the transport sector, reduce emissions and simultaneously increase Sweden’s competitiveness and create jobs in Sweden. This will be an important tool with which the Swedish automotive industry can steer global development towards increased sustainability,” says Ibrahim Baylan, Sweden’s Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation.

At the test center’s three plants, industry, institutes and academia will test most of the types of technology and safety consideration required for electrified transport – including innovative new concepts at early stages of development. The test objects comprise a number of different kinds of components for electrical drivelines and energy storage intended for vehicles and ships, as well as systems for propulsion and energy management. Physically this means gearboxes, shaft systems, hubs, electric motors, power electronics, batteries and fuel cells.

The marine sector and aviation will also greatly benefit from the test center – for testing and as a meeting place and platform for wide-ranging knowledge development in the field of electromobility.

SEEL: Sweden's electric transport test bed to speed up e-mobility

One of SEEL’s three future plants. Illustration: SEEL

“SEEL will increase the Swedish automobile industry’s competitiveness and contribute towards Sweden remaining at the cutting edge with regard to innovation within the transport sector. SEEL is very well placed to become a world-leading test center for electromobility, and it will assume an important role in the automobile industry’s transitional work,” says Pia Sandvik, CEO of RISE.

The biggest of SEEL’s three plants is being constructed in Säve, Gothenburg, involving a planned area of 13,000 square metres. The plant will be able to meet the needs of developers of heavy and light vehicles, trucks and buses, construction equipment, aircraft and ships. Tests will be possible on all types of battery systems, including components from subcontractors. A wide range of testing in the field of electromobility will be offered at Säve.

Safety tests will be the focus of the Borås plant, related to charging, short circuits, vibrations, mechanical shock, extreme temperatures and fire risks. In Nykvarn the emphasis of work will be on research and testing in the field of battery technology, and dynamic testing of components for heavy vehicles.

“Together with RISE, Chalmers has chosen to assume active proprietorial responsibility for the test bed, so as to facilitate the most efficient support for the Swedish and European automotive industries in their rapid transition to electromobility. The venture simultaneously provides us with excellent opportunities to further consolidate our research and education in the field of electromobility,” says Stefan Bengtsson, President and CEO of Chalmers University of Technology.

The automotive industry in Sweden has set ambitious targets for its technology transition, and the companies’ active involvement is promoting the strategic relevance of the technical testing opportunities currently being established. The test center will simultaneously act as an open platform that will also welcome researchers, other big industrial companies, SMEs, professionals and students wishing to develop their knowledge.

The Swedish Electric Transport Laboratory will be operational by the second quarter of 2023. Procurement of contracts and equipment is currently in progress.

The industry on Sweden’s test bed for electromobility
The Volvo Group is in the middle of the major technology transition that will make us a zero-emission company by 2050 at the latest. Electrification of our product segments will comprise a major component of our offering in the field of fossil-free transport. SEEL, a world-class testing and demonstration plant for electromobility, will be an important factor in terms of success in the technology transition for Volvo and the entire Swedish automobile industry. Through close collaboration between industry, institutes and academia we can speed up knowledge development in the field of electromobility and make sure we continue to deliver innovative and competitive transport solutions,” says Lars Stenqvist, Volvo Group’s Technical Director.
Scania‘s goal is to spearhead the shift towards a sustainable transport system in which electrified heavy vehicles play a crucial role. The agreement with SEEL is positive for Scania and the entire innovative-vehicle cluster in the Mälaren Valley. We see the establishment of SEEL in Nykvarn as a further step into a future in which our forthcoming battery factory and our new battery laboratory will also be extremely important,” says Claes Erixon, Executive Vice President, Head of Research and Development Scania.
“Electromobility is an essential component in the development work towards future mobility. SEEL is creating improved opportunities for world-class development and the potential to attract top-level expertise. Together we can now speed up the development towards a fossil-free society,” says Mats Fägerhag, CEO of CEVT.
Volvo Cars believes the future is electric and we are leading the industry in the transformation. With its advanced research and testing capacity, SEEL will contribute to our electrification ambition by improving our competence in testing and verifying the new technologies for our future electric cars,” says Mats Moberg, Senior Vice President of R&D at Volvo Cars. “We are glad to see the progress in the construction of SEEL and anticipate close collaborations with all the partners.”