Car companies are always wishing to be as global as possible. It means that new cars have to works as effectively in middle of Europe as in the northern Scandinavia or Middle East. This is quite a broad range of extreme conditions, which is why Opel is testing new Opel Astra Sports Tourer in climatic test chamber to see how it works in temperatures from -40 to +60 degrees Celsius.
Opel‘s International Technical Development Center is capable of replicating conditions similar to those of Sahara desert. What is even more impressive is that the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer is dealing with these conditions just fine. Furthermore, on different testing day car experiences extreme negative temperatures. And despite the fact that windows get completely frozen and frost covers the car, main components can deal with these temperatures as well. It may seem completely unnecessary, but company has a different idea.
Otto Hemmelmann, Lead Engineer Test Methods of Opel, said: “We want to see how the materials in the Sports Tourer react to extreme conditions. We also check if its appearance changes and if extreme heat or cold have an effect on, for example, gap width”.
Tests in extreme temperatures are part of standard testing during the development phase. Other tests – acoustic, electronic lab tests and others – are fairly well known to general population. However, testing in climatic test chamber is extremely important for the sole reason that car has to perform well in all over the world. Materials have to remain as strong and as good looking even after car goes through such temperature cycles.
Moreover, these chambers can test the effects of direct sunlight as well. It is more realistic scenario as direct sunlight may heat inside of the car up to 90 degrees in some conditions. Heating and cooling of materials causes stress, which may lead to other problems, such as change in the appearance, irritating noises or even smells when car moves. This is why car is constantly moved in the camber to reveal any problems.
The new Opel Astra Sports Tourer passed these tests so far, although test car is not prepared for them in any way. It was to be as similar to production car as possible to ensure test results are useful. Throughout the testing engineer measure the car to see if there are any misalignment problems or distortion.
Team pays special attention to plastic parts, such as bumpers and side sills. They also check if interior parts work (for example, if glove box opens smoothly) and if all door and tailgate open even at -40 degrees. Tailgate has to open electronically even at such harsh conditions. Only in this way Opel can ensure that customer is getting top quality car, which will work anywhere around the world.