[YesAuto Technology] For all brands of vehicles on the market, a large number of verification tests are repeated at the beginning of the market, while winter testing is a very important link in the pre-development process, considering whether the quality of the vehicle meets the standard and is durable. Whether the performance is too hard and whether the performance is severely attenuated under special conditions, it must be carried out in a harsh or even harsh environment. Therefore, many automakers have chosen Heihe, the place closest to Siberia in China. This time, I was fortunate to accept Buick’s invitation to have a short experience and learn how Buick’s engineers carried out the winter testing process.
● Why do we need to conduct winter testing?
The low temperature environment will bring a lot of trouble to the vehicle, and the main components, circuits, wiring, oil circuit, air conditioning system, paint surface, and even sealing strips may all have hidden troubles. In order to ensure the normal operation of a vehicle in a low-temperature environment, in addition to the necessary durability and high-temperature tests, whether it can withstand the invasion of severe cold is also a standard to measure whether a product is qualified. In layman's terms, it is to detect whether the vehicle will “drop the chain” in a cold area.
● Why did you choose to conduct winter trials in Heihe?
In order to enable the vehicle to obtain better verification and exert more excellent performance, the test site is particularly important, so it must have a special representativeness. For the winter test, the cold climate and stable temperature are the most critical, and Heihe undoubtedly fits this feature.
Heihe is located in Heilongjiang Province, near the Siberian steppe, the source of cold air. Coldness is the main feature of the climate in Heihe. The winter here lasts for 127 days, and one month of the year the temperature reaches minus 35 degrees Celsius-minus 40 degrees Celsius, and the annual average number of days below minus 20 degrees Celsius is about 100 days.
● Introduction to Pan-Asia R&D and Test Base
Leading other car companies is that GM's car brands (Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet) have an independent test base in Heihe-Pan-Asia R&D and test base. It is worth mentioning that because it has passed GM's North American system certification, the venue is also suitable for winter testing of GM's auto brands. It is reported that all Buick vehicles are undergoing winter testing here.
Pan Asia Automotive Technology Center Co., Ltd. was established in June 1997 by General Motors China and Shanghai Automotive Industry (Group) Corporation. It is the first Sino-foreign joint venture vehicle design and development center in China. Pan-Asia’s winter test site is located in Woniu Lake in the north of Heihe. The ice surface test field covers an area of 1.2 million square meters . On the basis of conventional snow surface dynamic squares, ice and snow circles and other test facilities, a new ABS test is set up. Test roads such as roads and ramps, snow-surfaced city squares, and noise assessment roads can be subjected to snow test and low-temperature noise assessment of chassis parts .
● Links and procedures of Buick winter road test
Out of the manufacturer's need for confidentiality, we only experienced the test content of the last vehicle road test conducted by Buick engineers in the winter. In the early stage, there are laboratory simulation cabin test, low temperature test of parts, and road test of camouflage vehicle.
To reach the stage of mass production vehicle road test, generally speaking, the vehicle has passed more than three basic tests, such as engine cold start performance, vehicle defrosting performance, wiper, wiper fluid performance, cold zone adaptability of electronic components, etc. Winter test. The road test vehicle represents the test vehicle that is closest to the quality of the mass-produced vehicle. Although the probability of problems is small, it also requires more than 2 months of testing. Unlike the previous three-wheeled focused tests, the road test is to test the quality and performance of the entire vehicle, so the daily road test will simulate the owner's normal car usage habits and environment.
The road test team is generally composed of the same number of models, and each car is equipped with a full-time tester. The team will follow several engineers to record and report the problems of the vehicle at any time. Engineers will upload feedback to the headquarters in the form of pictures, recordings, and videos according to various details of the fault until the problem is solved.
Before the daily road test, test drivers need to check the appearance, oil, and various parts of the vehicle, such as checking whether the oil leaks or freezes, and whether the door can be opened and closed normally. Although the content of the test seems to be very basic, it is indeed the most common problem in the driving process.
After the necessary inspections before going on the road every day, a simulated city road test is required. The Pan-Asia base simulates the environment of urban roads, and testers can complete low-speed driving, rapid acceleration, emergency braking and even reverse operations on the road.
After running the high-speed section, a complete road test is over. According to relevant Buick staff, in order to ensure the working conditions of testers and engineers, all of their testers and engineers adopt unified militarized management, eat and live together during the test, and turn off the lights and power off before 10 o’clock to force a rest. . It is particularly emphasized that during the test, all personnel are not allowed to drink alcohol.
In my opinion, the content of the one-day road test is quite boring, and it is boring to repeat all the test content mechanically every day, and the mandatory militarized management feels a little uncomfortable. But in turn, considering from the perspective of the car owner, it is precisely because of the silent dedication behind these R&D personnel that we can guarantee the safety of our driving and car use.
● Winter performance certification for Buick tires:
Many friends may think that tires only need to understand the brand or specifications, but in some high-end car brands, tires will go through several rounds of testing and certification. Buick test tires need to go through more than four rounds of verification. Each round will require tire manufacturers to Improve the tires (formulation, pattern, etc.).
According to Buick engineers, the original supporting tires of all Buick vehicles have been officially certified and modified by Buick. In other words, the original matching tires are slightly different from the tires of the same brand and model purchased from a tire dealer. According to objective data, Buick’s original four-season tires can achieve 60%-80% of the performance of winter tires after being upgraded and improved (based on the best-selling Bridgestone Bingruike on the market).
● How to carry out tire winter test?
● What improvements have been made?
The winter performance certification of tires includes upgrading the formula, pattern, layer and other parts of the original four-season tires (Buick engineers provide data and hope to improve aspects, and finally delivered by the tire manufacturer). After several rounds of tests, more Good match with the overall performance of the vehicle's ABS/ESC/TCS.
● Certified winter tires for all Buick vehicles
The Buick-certified winter tires mentioned here can be understood as Buick engineers bought tires of the same specification from various tire manufacturers and tested them separately. After testing the performance of grip, average speed around piles, maximum adhesion around circles, etc., the final selection A tire with the best overall performance was developed as a Buick-certified winter tire. Maybe it is not the one with the strongest grip, but it must be the most suitable vehicle for balancing price, quietness, grip, and matching with the chassis of the vehicle.
According to Buick's engineers, each model may have different winter tires due to different power and chassis tuning. For example, Bridgestone's Bingruike has excellent overall performance on Enclave, and perhaps not so good on Enclave.
to sum up:
With the progress of the automobile industry, people's requirements for vehicles are getting higher and higher. It is 30 degrees below zero and the cold wind is freezing. It is in such an environment that automotive engineers have completed hundreds of days and nights of winter testing. However, winter testing is only a small part of the pre-market test of the whole vehicle, waiting for them. There are also harsh summer tests and endurance tests and so on. Because of the evaluation criteria and content confidentiality, I only experienced a very basic project this time, but it has already made me feel the difficulties and hardships of a vehicle at the beginning of the market.