It is no longer news that Electric Vehicles (VE) and Hybrid Vehicles (VH) are generating a more sustainable, clean and efficient future. Large manufacturers are increasingly focused on this market, wich has evolved dramatically. Europe, USA and China are responsible for 90% of world production and are where the turning point should happen first.
Despite it being a demanding and rigorous industry already with little margin for error, the challenges for the automotive validation laboratories have never been so high and demanding as they are right now.
Vehicle development is a very complex process at multiple levels and consists of several stages: from determining and evaluating markets to designing a simple wheel or seat. There is a great need to manage and somehow connect, all of these steps logically. For example, General Motors uses a the top-down approach to connect these levels. This approach starts with a global view point, enphasising on the needs from customers and companies regarding the vehicle, and the vehicle manufacturer itself.
After evaluating these steps, it is inevitable to conclude that the manufacturer’s job is extremely demanding, with high standards for precision. In the context of the modern era, there are even more oportunities to make mistakes. A misstep or a less successful VE or VH launch can change the future and inpact the brand equity in new technologies. For these reasons, the EV and HV validation phase is essential for its success in the market. However, our experience in using these technologies is still limited when compared to combustion vehicles.
Knowledge and experience Electric and Hybrid Vehicles validation
The vehicle validation phase, after being designed according to the needs and expectations of potential consumers and the manufacturers themselves, is one of the most important and most relevant phases in the final product. It is a careful and subjective selection process that is used to assess and determine the tests and trials that can reveal the most serious weaknesses and provide the most interesting information about the vehicle’s performance. The validation methods focus on four pillars: Active Safety, Passive Safety, Comfort and Functionality.
With regard to Active and Passive Safety, little or nothing has changed in the validation requirements of the European New Car Assessment Program – Euro NCAP.
In the vast majority of manufacturers and validation laboratories, the biggest challenges have risen in the Comfort and Functionality of the vehicle. The first note goes to the absence of engine noise. They became quieter. “Parasitic noises” stood out in vehicles, which forced manufacturers to improve the quality of the vehicle’s interior components. In turn, the validation testing / testing laboratories have developed new methods with greater precision and efficiency in detecting parasitic noise.
We increasingly want more spacious vehicles so, in some cases, manufacturers sacrifice the exterior design to achieve adequate range in the front and rear. This spaciousness allows occupants to sit comfortably without feeling uneasy. We come to realize that the vehicle’s cabin becomes an increasingly habitable place with the amenities that we have in our homes. Comfortable seats with cooling systems, ergonomical features with controls included to facilitate their use, among others.
All the changes that we intend for the vehicles of the future, also arise with the change in the type of fuel. This justifies the high prices of VE and VH, since manufacturers are obliged to improve the components, which implies heavy investments in component testing, validation and tests of the vehicles themselves.
Anticipating these requirements, LABAUTO, has been investing in laboratory infrastructures and qualified human resources, being able to provide an adequate response to the manufacturers of the automotive industry in the face of the challenges that currently arise in the validation, testing and testing of VE and VH.
IPAC – Portuguese Institute of Accreditation, recognized LABAUTO with ISO / IEC 17025 Accreditation. Based in Monção, it is especially suited for tests in the Automotive Industry, with specialized testing ranges for vehicles of the next generation, smarter, autonomous and sustainable.