The new Opel Astra continues its tough test marathon before the mass production and promotion period. In this context, driving dynamics and thermal tests were carried out on the New Astra at -30oC in the Arctic, Sweden-Lapland. In addition, chassis enhancement settings for safety and comfort were implemented at the Dudenhofen Test Center in Germany. Finally, the electromagnetic wave resistance of the car was tested in the EMC laboratory in Rüsselsheim.
Opel is preparing to launch the 11th generation of Astra, the successful representative in the compact class, in a short time. Counting the days to meet the world, the development of the new Astra continues in accordance with the schedule. The new Opel Astra, which was designed with computer-aided simulations in the first place, has been tested and fine-tuned in real-life conditions since the beginning of last winter. The new Astra, which successfully completed the very challenging physical test marathon after the simulation tests, will be fully ready after the final tests.
The grueling test marathon of the new Opel Astra began as Opel engineers took the prototypes north to test the new model on ice and in the frozen environment of Sweden's Lapland Region. The engineers, who went to the test track at the Dudenhofen Test Center with prototypes, lastly carried out test drives on public roads in company with the senior management. “The new Astra's demanding testing program is going very well,” said Astra Chief Engineer Mariella Vogler, who started her review.
Winter tests: high comfort and safety in all conditions
The guest of Swedish Lapland, which is a route frequently used by Opel engineers during the winter months, was the new generation Opel Astra this time. Chassis experts optimized the electronics on extremely slippery surfaces at temperatures as low as -30oC. As a result, the new Astra is prepared to be safe at all times in different road and driving conditions such as ice, snow, wet and dry. Andreas Holl, Head of Vehicle Dynamics at Opel, said: “While developing the new Astra, we have ensured that this new generation also offers superior driving pleasure and comfort. With its dynamic design, the new Astra should offer high safety on the highway and at high speeds, while offering comfort to its users even on bad road surfaces.
Opel's chassis specialists were joined by the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) team in the Lapland tests. One of the goals of the HVAC team was to get the passenger compartment warmed up quickly. The team scrutinized the new Astra's engine heat conduction, coolant flow, heater performance, ventilation flow, and steering and seat heating. Thermal tests did not only serve user comfort. Warming performance was covered extensively. As per regulations and internal safety standards, frozen windshields and side windows of an Opel must be cleared of ice and mist as soon as possible to ensure safe vision. The rechargeable hybrid version of the new generation Astra plays an important role in Opel's electrification strategy. Engineers closely monitored the lithium-ion battery's warm-up times to ensure that the performance of the battery cells meets electric driving standards, even in cold weather.
Dudenhofen Test Center: Tough testing on and off the track
A different performance is evaluated at the Dudenhofen Test Center in Germany. Engineers of the ADAS (Autonomous Driving Assistance Systems) competence center in Rüsselsheim; It used different purpose-built areas of the test site to calibrate the new Astra's advanced technologies, from adaptive cruise control and emergency braking, to front collision warning and rear cross traffic assist. Pre-production cars also had to meet high standards on the Dudenhofen plain. Like every Opel, the new generation Astra; At speeds above 140 km/h it had to demonstrate superior highway performance by remaining stable under controlled and hard braking. Opel engineers also scrutinized components such as the hood and windshield wipers on the oval track. No vibrations or annoying sounds were allowed. The new Opel Astra, which warmed up well in the fast driving tests, also had the opportunity to cool off in deep waters of up to 25 centimeters. The test car had to absorb no water, and the engine components, electrical systems, and every part under the hood had to be protected from water.
After these tests, the new generation Astra was tested for dust tightness and in a climatic wind tunnel. The cooling performance of the brakes was tested by simulating different driving conditions, including congested traffic, downhill and uphill. The engineers also tested whether the snow accumulating in front of the vehicle would block the air intakes here.
Top priority: Verification drives around Opel Headquarters
At this stage of the test, climatic conditions such as dust, sand or snow are not sought. Validation runs are carried out with prototypes and engineering tools at various stages during the development of a new model. These tests are done to validate systems and subsystems, and to ensure overall integrations in the vehicle. In the final stages of development, cross-functional teams of engineers and technicians are joined by senior board members, including Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller. Final verification drives of the new camouflaged Astra took place in June on public roads around Rüsselsheim, the production center of Opel and the car, in the Rhine-Main region.
Electromagnetic compatibility: prerequisite for type approval
Development prototypes and pre-production vehicles are being tested on public roads in and around Germany in the north, in Dudenhofen; others undergo intensive testing at the test track and laboratories in Rüsselsheim. For example, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is tested throughout its development. In addition, no car can be sold in Europe without passing EMC tests during the type approval process. The EMC test tests a car's electronic systems not to be affected by each other.
The Opel team tested the compatibility of the new Astra against electromagnetic emissions at the EMC laboratory in Rüsselsheim. As the test car is exposed to emissions in a wide frequency range, special dampers in the walls "swallow" the radiated emissions so that they are not reflected back. Engineers thus get clean, reliable data.