The four-minute and 30-second long video begins with Josh Walton, operations manager at GM Kapuskasing, explaining why GM decided to open a proving ground 800 kilometers north of Toronto. This area has some of the coldest temperatures in all of North America during the winter months, Walton explains, making it the perfect place to test a vehicle’s cold weather capability.
While cold weather performance and reliability has always been important in the auto industry, it has become an even more important test center for GM amid the automaker’s ongoing EV transition. As many readers already know, EVs may experience reduced motor performance and battery range in extremely cold temperatures, so Kapuskasing presents an opportunity for GM to address these potential shortcomings with its battery-electric products before they hit the market.
Cold weather capability is particularly important for the GMC Hummer EV Pickup, as this vehicle is being marketed as a rugged, go-anywhere EV that will be used as a daily driver by the vast majority of buyers – many of which will be located in northern states with cold winter weather or in Canada. These buyers simply will not tolerate a reduction in performance or range in cold weather, especially considering the vehicle’s rather steep MSRP, making Kapuskasing hugely important to the Hummer EV’s development process.
GM implements accelerated testing schedules at Kapuskasing when temps dip below freezing, Walton explains in the video, allowing it to mimic two years of cold weather driving in just one winter season.
“This facility we operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week during our winter test season,” Walton explains. “We cram 12 weeks of testing for each of our durability vehicles, which represents two years of customer usage in the winter.”
Check out the video embedded below to learn more about the GM Kapuskasing Proving Grounds in northern Ontario and how it’s playing an important role in GM’s EV development processes.