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Smithers Adds Support for EVs at Winter Proving Grounds

Smithers has added new freezer capacity at its Smithers Winter Test Center (SWTC) in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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Two reefer trailers have been outfitted to maintain temperatures as low as -30°F (-34°C). The trailers are each spacious enough to accommodate two large passenger vehicles or light trucks at a time, Smithers says. Demand for freezer testing is growing among automotive OEMs and tier suppliers who are working to develop batteries and specialty components for electric vehicles.

“Electric vehicle technology is developing very quickly, and there are still some unknowns with regard to how they function in extreme cold,” said Dr. Jim Popio, vice president of operations, North America, materials science and engineering for Smithers. “We made this investment to help our clients deepen their understanding of how their EV technology performs at low temperatures and maintains a competitive edge in the market.”


The setup allows clients to drive vehicles straight out of the trailer and immediately attempt acceleration and braking maneuvers to determine how driving performance is impacted by extreme cold.

Smithers says it has also invested in a new direct-current high-speed charging station on-site to increase efficiency for customers who are testing electric vehicles. The ChargePoint Express 250 DC Fast Charging Station can charge two vehicles at a time and delivers 75% of battery capacity in about 20 minutes.

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