It’s summer time! And while it may be all fun and games for some, it means only one thing for GM’s engineering team: time for some hot weather testing. And there’s no better place to bake a Volt (or any other vehicle, for that matter) than at GM’s Desert Proving Grounds in Arizona.
While the Volt was designed to operate in all weather and temperature conditions, GM engineers ran the hotly-anticipated (pun intended) PHEV through a desert test they call Hot Soak Evaluation. The test involves baking the Volt under the sun for several hours, at which point cabin temperatures can exceed 175 degrees F (80 degrees Celsius). Then, GM engineers open everything in the car, cycle all electric accessories, and take the car down to the track to check for squeaks or rattles. The expansion (during heating) and contraction (during cooling) of parts and components makes this a perfect method to test the quality of materials and the way they’re put together.
Engineers also check to make sure the door seals continue to close off the cabin from hot outside air as the Volt’s air conditioning system cools the cabin.
“The car performed well,” said senior durability test engineer Steve Pratt. “The air conditioner cooled things off from our interior temperature of 138 degrees down to a nice comfortable temperature for driving.”
Given the amount of testing the Volt has been through at the mercy of GM engineers, we’d be surprised if it’s anything but a top-notch vehicle when it goes on sale later this year.[Source: GM]