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A "Structure Guy's" Take on Magna's EV Strategy

I started working as a toolmaker at Magna in 2002 when I was 16, a dream job for a young guy who was fascinated by how to manufacture complex things. After just one week on the job, I realized there was so much possibility for personal growth with this company.

I studied engineering at night and ended up with Magna assignments in China, Sweden and France, supporting automakers from Renault to Geely’s Lynk & Co. Today, I’m based in an R&D/advanced engineering facility in Weikersdorf, Austria as Magna’s global chief engineer for battery enclosures, a critical part of our EV strategy.

Gregor Klement standing behind a battery enclosure.

My team is helping to get some of the smartest and most innovative new products on the road, including the 2022 GMC Hummer EV and the 2022 Ford F150 pickup truck. A technology geek and a “structure guy” like me loves the challenge of delivering these high quality, complex components to our global customers in a rapidly growing global EV market.

Making battery enclosures is something Magna has been working on for a decade, starting with casting cases for hybrid vehicles. Our expertise in this market presents a significant opportunity for Magna.

For vehicles to carry electric batteries, they must be designed with structures to hold them. These structures go beyond traditional metal body frames. Battery enclosures contribute to the structural and safety aspects of vehicle frames and protect EV batteries from water and other damage.

Consumers typically won’t see these hidden components that Magna makes out of steel, aluminum or composite materials, but they are among the biggest on electric vehicles. These components are technically challenging to assemble. They require a combination of standard and laser welding technologies that in some areas must be leak tight with parts that are bonded and sealed with adhesives. In addition, each battery enclosure is unique – custom made for a specific vehicle, since there is no one-size-fits-all design.

Magna engineers and researchers around the world are working together on battery enclosure concepts in an effort to make these components less expensive, more lightweight and even structurally better. Our systems approach gives us the capability to draw on vast expertise and resources within the company to accomplish our goals. One R&D project team based in the U.S. and Austria is working on the “BESt Battery Tray,” short for “Body Exteriors & Structures.”

In short, another dream assignment for a Magna “structure guy.”

Jim Quesenberry

Gregor Klement

The battery enclosure contributes to the structural and safety aspects of a vehicle’s frame and protects high-voltage batteries from damage and water. Magna can develop these advanced assemblies in steel, aluminum, and multi-material configurations, including lightweight composites, to meet the individual needs of its customers.

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