Wayne Griffits (SEAT): “It is important to speed up the calls for PERTE”

The top leader of the Spanish brand urges the Ministry of Industry to implement European aid.

Wayne Griffiths, CEO of Seat.

For weeks the automotive sector has shown signs that it wants to step on the accelerator of the PERTE of the electric car. The last to join this demand has been the CEO of Seat and Cupra, Wayne Griffiths, who has underlined the importance of the process moving forward. “It is important to speed up the PERTE calls for electric and connected cars” He commented during the inauguration of the Test Center Energy, the new facility focused on battery research and development that the company he directs has launched at its facilities in Martorell.

Griffiths’ request comes a few days after the European Commission gave its approval to the PERTE design of the electric car. A process that has taken several months longer than expected given that it has been the first instrument of the Government’s Recovery Plan that has passed an in-depth evaluation to ensure that it does not conflict with community regulation. Despite the complexity of this project, the Ministry of Industry continues to trust that the bases of the project will be launched before the end of 2021.

A calendar that would be aligned with the plans of the Volkswagen group. The Seat and Cupra parent company intends to install a battery plant in Spain and electrify its plants in Martorell, in Catalonia, and Landaben, in Navarra. Some commitments that, to finish crystallizing, hope to have part of the 3,000 million direct aid that the PERTE of the electric and connected car will deploy.

It is expected that the bases of this project receive the green light from the Council of Ministers in one of the last ministerial conclaves. Although the bulk of the project has been defined for some time, the details established in the contacts with Brussels are being finalized. Something that should be resolved in the next two weeks.

key asset

The Test Center Energy for inaugurated by Seat has had an investment of 7 million euros. The facilities, located in the Technical Center of the automobile company in Martorell, are already used to develop and carry out performance tests on energy systems for electric and hybrid vehicles for Cupra, Seat and Seat Mó, as well as for other brands of the Volkswagen group.

The Seat Energy Test Center in Martorell.

The Seat Energy Test Center in Martorell.

This facility is part of the global R&D network of the Volkswagen group and is the first center of its kind in Europe outside of Germany, along with other similar facilities in China and the United States. The Test Center Energy seeks to become a key asset to carry out the Seat electrification process. This center is part of the investment plan of 5,000 million euros announced by the company to electrify vehicles and facilities.

This objective is specified in the Future: Fast Forward plan, through which SEAT, together with the Volkswagen group, intends to turn Spain into a leading European hub in electric mobility. In addition, the center aspires to become a space for open innovation and collaborationwhere you can investigate and delve into aspects related to training in new skills for the electric car, especially focused on young people.

change the industry

The inauguration act of the facilities was attended by the Minister of Science and Innovation, Diana Morantand the Minister of Business and Work of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Roger Torrent, who have visited the facilities together with Griffiths, and the company’s vice president of R&D, Werner Tietz.

Interior of the Seat Energy Test Center in Martorell.

Interior of the Seat Energy Test Center in Martorell.

“Today is an important day for the future of SEAT. We have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to completely change our industry. Now we need to have the funds to make these projects a reality. We hope that the Government will publish the PERTE in the coming days”, said Wayne Griffiths.

For his part, Werner Tietz stated that “this center will up to 6,000 different analyses, which allow validating and guaranteeing the performance of batteries and systems load. For this reason, the start-up of this center is magnificent news not only for electrifying the company, but also because it will allow us to position ourselves as a benchmark in the development of solutions for sustainable electromobility”.

Within its electrification strategy, Seat plans to manufacture electric vehicles in Martorell from 2025and play a key role in democratizing the electric vehicle to make it accessible to a large number of people.

center equipment

The building that houses the Test Center Energy has 1,500 square meters. It includes different spaces for the validation of battery modules with the most advanced chemical technologies for cells, covering the full range of voltages used in the automotive industry. The focus today is on the batteries of the MEB (electric) and MQB (hybrid) platforms, as well as different chargers used in all electrified vehicles.

In total, it has a test capacity of 1.3 megawatts, a power equivalent to that needed by 350 homes to have all electrical devices on at the same time or more than 100,000 mobile phones charging simultaneously. More than 25 highly qualified professionals work in these facilities.

The TCE has the capacity to make up to 6,000 full feature validation tests related to the high voltage system (battery, charging, safety). The batteries undergo an average of more than 17,500 hours of tests with the aim of guaranteeing optimal performance in any circumstance, throughout their life cycle.

Likewise, it has several climatic chambers that allow tests with batteries and modules under extreme thermal conditions, between –25 ºC to +55 ºC, thus simulating the different situations in which a car can find itself in its life cycle. To design and manufacture prototypes and build interfaces for testing systems, a specific research area with the highest technology has been created.