SEAT - Five extreme tests in the Arctic cold

SEAT - Five extreme tests in the Arctic cold

19.03.2018: 150 technicians and engineers, 60 tests, 30,000 km and four months of work in extreme conditions to evaluate the carsí performance

 


   150 technicians and engineers, 60 tests, 30,000 km and four months of work in extreme conditions to evaluate the cars’ performance


    Every year up to 90 cars go up against snow, ice and temperatures that can plunge to -35 degrees


    The purpose of the testing is to ensure the functioning of every system before a car is put on the market



90 cars go up against snow, ice and -35 degree temperatures to challenge the most extreme tests before being released to the market



Forests of snow-covered birch and pine trees, temperatures that can reach 35 degrees below zero and a frozen lake used as a track, with a 60 centimetre thick ice sheet that makes it the ideal driving surface during the winter months. At a location near the Arctic Circle, SEAT engineers push up to 90 cars to the limit every year. The following are the most extreme winter tests that the SEAT Ateca FR was put through.



-Stability control:
This test is performed on a circular track on the frozen surface of a 6 square kilometre lake. The exterior portion is less polished than the interior, for better drifting. The car’s traction control is disabled in different stages, and on some models it is even switched off completely for sportier driving. If the vehicle veers off course, the ESC system (electronic stability control) controls the wheels to correct the vehicle’s direction of travel.



-Braking test
: 200 metres of tracks with two different surfaces – high and low grip. One of the lanes is heated to 10 degrees to prevent the asphalt from freezing, while the other is cooled to -16 degrees to preserve the ice. This test helps engineers calibrate the ABS system, a driver aid that controls vehicle stability in the most extreme conditions.



-Aspiration test:
The purpose of this test is to check that the engine’s air filter does not get blocked when driving in a cloud of snow behind another vehicle. To simulate this condition, two cars are needed that reach a speed of 80 km/h. The first one causes the snow to swirl and the one behind undergoes the analysis. The filter is checked after 50 kilometres to ensure it is not saturated, which could cause the engine to lose power.



    The test is performed at 80 km/h to test the engine’s air filter


    In the aspiration test the vehicle in front causes the snow to swirl, while the one behind gathers it in a measuring cylinder


    The car is driven on high and low grip tracks to test its stability in all conditions


    150 technicians and engineers test up to 90 cars to the limit every year to guarantee the reliability of all their elements before going on the market





-Noise analysis:
The driver, and usually a second technician, try to detect any noise that can be annoying to the passengers and where it comes from. Due to the cold, some of the three thousand parts of a car contract and can be the cause of these noises when they come into contact.


 In order to analyse them, the cars are driven over several kinds of surfaces at different speeds. One of the variations of this test consists in driving the car several times on a 30 metre track lined with rumble strips at a speed of between 20 and 30 km/h.



    One lane is heated to 10 degrees to prevent the asphalt from freezing, while the other is cooled to -16 degrees to preserve the ice


    The car is driven several times on a 30 metre track lined with rumble strips at a speed of between 20 and 30 km/h to detect possible noises


    Several different types of surfaces are covered to study possible noises made by the car, as the cold can cause some of its three thousand parts to contract


    The durability test is performed on actual roads that are ususally covered with snow and ice




-30,000 km of intensive use:
This is the distance covered by vehicles in the durability test on actual roads that are covered with snow and ice. It is a part of a global test that is performed over 150,000 kilometres in different conditions, which is used to analyse the wear they have to endure over the years. During the test the drivers record the car’s performance, and the information is analysed by engineers at a later time.



    The drivers record the car’s performance during the 30,000 km of intensive use it endures


    150 technicians and engineers drive these cars 30,000 km so that future owners will be safe at the wheel in any driving condition



    At a location near the Arctic Circle, SEAT engineers test up to 90 cars to the limit every year to verify aspects such as stability


    If the vehicle veers off course, the ESC system (electronic stability control) controls the wheels to correct the vehicle’s direction of travel


    Traction control is disabled in different stages or even completely during the stability test




These are just five of the nearly sixty different types of extreme tests that a car is put through, and all this testing is more necessary than ever due to the integration of increasingly complex electronic systems, thanks to which drivers can be sure of being able to drive safely and reliably on any road and in all kinds of conditions.




Gemma Solà, Vanessa Petit- photos Seat

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/seat-extreme-tests-artic-cold---173863.html

19.03.2018 / MaP

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