With confidence and dynamism to perfect battery control

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Fabian Sinram knows exactly what is important in the precise control of modern drive systems for electric vehicles. Together with his team, he develops complex software applications for high-voltage systems, inverters and battery management - and thus ensures maximum performance and reliability in the exclusive electric and hybrid vehicles from Mercedes AMG. In his interview, Fabian Sinram explains why trust is most important to him when working together, what he particularly loves about vehicle tests with new models and how he came to Mercedes-Benz as a dual student.

Mr Sinram, you lead the software development for high-voltage systems at Mercedes-AMG. What does it depend on?

In short, that the car does what the driver expects. The battery management system is a good example. Just to make an electric vehicle ready to drive, countless processes run in the background. Precision is the key here: that the battery closes the contactors at the right time so that the right signals are sent to the drive components. In addition, the system must constantly monitor the voltage and temperature of the individual battery cells and react accordingly. We create the prerequisite that the vehicles can drive off the assembly line after production - and later offer their full performance on the road. If we do our job right, our customers do not even notice that our systems exist (laughs).

With his team, Fabian Sinram ensures that electric and hybrid vehicles on the road offer full performance.

How do you go about developing these software components?

Until recently, for example, we worked on the new Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance*, the new performance hybrid model from AMG, which has been available to order since April 2022. In doing so, we work closely with our complete vehicle developers and our suppliers who provide the control units for our systems. We often test our applications directly in the vehicles. We are among the first to be allowed to drive the prototypes.

*Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE 4-Türer Coupé | WLTP: Kraftstoffverbrauch gewichtet kombiniert: 7,9 l/100 km; CO2 Emissionen gewichtet kombiniert: 180 g/km; Stromverbrauch gewichtet kombiniert: 12,0 kWh/100 km.

That must be a great feeling ...

Definitely - and often it's also exciting. The other day, for example, we broke down with an electric prototype on the way home from a test drive in Sweden and had to be towed. One of the control units was not properly sealed. Prototypes are not always perfect - but that is what makes our job so appealing. Or we test our systems in the cold chamber. When the cold start of the drive system succeeds at minus 30 degrees Celsius on the first try, the engineer's heart beats faster (laughs).

And how can we picture your team?

We are something like the interface between software and hardware. That is why most of the people in my team have knowledge of programming as well as classical engineering, such as electrical or mechanical engineering. A little passion for tinkering with the vehicle is definitely also part of our job (laughs). In terms of fields, we cover several areas: Some colleagues are specialists in high-voltage energy management, others in inverters, battery management or diagnostics.

How do you manage the team with such a broad range of topics?

First and foremost, this includes trust. It is important that we can rely on each other in the team 100 percent. Each and every one is a specialist in the respective field. As a leader, I see myself more as a coach. I can't get into all the issues in detail, but it is central that we all have the same goal. Along the way, everyone in the team has a lot of freedom.

Can you explain that in a little more detail?

Electric mobility and digitalisation are central components of our corporate strategy . With MB.OS, we are massively expanding our competences in software development. But change also requires entirely new forms of cooperation. I always experience this during our test drives. These are important not only because we test our vehicles in extreme situations, but also because of the mindset. We are on the road with quite mixed teams: from engine application to chassis and complete vehicle testing. We exchange ideas, and technical topics are also discussed in the coffee area. This often results in unusual solutions. We want to transfer this dynamic into our everyday work. Working on this transformation is very exciting and fun for me.

"The dual mechatronics course at Mercedes-Benz immediately appealed to me because it is a combination of three important future technologies."

Now you have to tell us, how did you actually come to Mercedes-Benz?

I have always been a car enthusiast, I am sure I got that from my grandad. After my A-levels, I wanted to study something technical. I had applied for aerospace engineering, among other things. Then, by chance, I found out about the opportunity to do a dual mechatronics course at Mercedes-Benz. This immediately appealed to me because with mechanical engineering, electronics and information technology, it is a combination of three important future technologies. That is how I started as a dual student. Another advantage was, of course, that I was already largely financially independent during my studies.

What happened after you graduated?

I held various positions in the development of energy management systems for hybrid vehicles and in the development of electronic components for combustion engines at Mercedes-Benz. And then in 2016, a colleague asked me if I would like to join AMG in the development of the AMG Drive Unit. Of course, the development of high-performance vehicles offers engineers completely different opportunities - when AMG calls, you come (laughs). And since 2019, I have been team leader in the Electric Drive functional development at AMG.

We have a slightly different question for you at the end: which personality from contemporary history would you like to meet one day?

I would like to meet Apple founder Steve Jobs. I think there is hardly a person who has helped shape the world we live in today more than he did. I heard an interesting question the other day: what was the most downloaded app during the 2006 World Cup in Germany? The answer is somewhat perplexing at first: none, because the smartphone had not yet been invented in this form at that time. When we imagine all the changes that have taken place in this short period of time, it's enormous - and Steve Jobs played a big part in it with his mindset, charisma and way of doing things.

Fabian Sinram (34) was born with a fascination for cars. For his fourth birthday, his grandfather gave him his first subscription to a car magazine. Since then, engines, car bodies, and tyres have fascinated him. After graduating from high school, Fabian Sinram decided to do a dual study programme at Mercedes-Benz and later took on various positions in the development of energy management and drive systems. Today, when he's not working with his team at Mercedes-AMG on sophisticated software applications for high-voltage systems in hybrid and fully electric high-performance vehicles, the father of three daughters enjoys spending time with his family - or making music. When he reaches for his acoustic guitar, he can really recharge his batteries.

Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO2-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem ‚Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch und die CO2-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen‘ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.