Stellantis invests $34 million in global engineering test centers

The company hopes to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2038.


Stellantis recently invested a total of €33 million ($34.7 million) in two of its global test facilities to support the company’s long-term strategy for electric vehicle (EV) performance and autonomous driving technology.

These investments help drive the company towards Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan goals, including a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from 2021 levels by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2038 .

Recent improvements include:

  • Orbassano Security Centernear Turin, Italy, is fully integrated with digital engineering processes and significantly upgraded to accommodate four test tracks with four impact points and full battery electric vehicle (BEV) and automated driving technology for passenger cars, trucks and light commercial vehicles.
  • Wind tunnel in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA, being expanded with the addition of moving ground plane technology, simulating road travel and providing more accurate aerodynamic measurement of vehicles. The reduction in wind resistance benefits the range of BEVs.

“Our world-class Technology Centers around the world are doing the work today that will make the Stellantis vehicles of tomorrow industry leaders in capability, performance and safety,” said Harald Wester, Chief Technology Officer. Stellantis engineering. “Our engineering community is fueled by talent, diversity and global reach, and we work intensely with other global functions, as Monozokuri peers, to energize the core of our technology transformation. This gives us a vision challenges and allows us to envision and refine a comprehensive menu of mobility solutions that will put us at the forefront of the race for innovation and improvement.

Electric vehicles and autonomous driving put to the test

The main objectives of the Stellantis Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan are to achieve 100% of passenger car BEV sales mix in Europe and 50% of passenger car and light truck BEV sales mix in the United States by 2030 .

The 5 million euro upgrades to the Orbassano safety center allow it to test all types of electrified vehicles – mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electrics. The facility currently performs at least two crash tests per day and is on track to test more than 275 electrified vehicles this year. Vehicles tested at Orbassano can be certified to more than 175 international safety and technological standards.

The impact area of ​​the test tracks is equipped with a Messring mobile block for frontal and side impact testing, and Orbassano performs some of the toughest tests in the industry, including the small side overlap test passenger used by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. .

The Orbassano test tracks feature a computer-controlled camera positioning system with 13 movable external camera locations above the point of impact. Additionally, the tracks include high-speed underbody video capability, while up to five cameras can be mounted aboard the test vehicle.

All of these views, along with instrumented data, provide Stellantis engineers with data to evaluate current and future vehicle designs. Additionally, data is shared with Stellantis facilities around the world, including additional security testing centers in Belchamp, France; Chelsea, Michigan, USA; and Betim, Brazil, to refine digital vehicle development models.

This facility is fully integrated with Stellantis’ digital safety engineering process, enabling the most efficient vehicle development and covering virtually all possible accident scenarios in the field.

The new tracks are ready to accommodate future test modes related to the introduction of automated driving functions on all types of vehicles.

Orbassano’s arsenal includes static and dynamic testing devices for factors such as pedestrian impact, roof crushing and rollover, and test sleds for evaluating seats and car interiors. vehicles. Seat and interior testing is becoming more critical as the adoption of future automated driving technologies offers potential for new in-cab seating configurations.

A better breeze

Aerodynamic efficiency is key to maximizing the distances electrified vehicles can travel on a single charge. This requires simulating the real world of driving as accurately as possible.

At the Stellantis Wind Tunnel Complex in Auburn Hills, Michigan, construction is underway to install moving ground plane (rolling road) technology, which simulates road travel while allowing test vehicles to remain static. Stellantis is investing $29.5 million in the project.

The belts allow the movement of the wheels to the four corners of the vehicle while a fifth belt passes under the vehicle as if it were traveling on a pavement. Moving ground plane technology also measures ventilation drag, which is the resistance associated exclusively with moving wheels and tires. It accounts for up to 10% of the total aerodynamic drag in the real world.

The existing aerodynamic test facility in Auburn Hills generates winds of up to 140 mph. The mobile ground aircraft installation, part of an estimated $85 million commitment included in the company’s 2019 contract with United Auto Workers, is expected to become operational in 2024.

The additional capacity will complement the world-class aero-acoustic wind tunnel at Auburn Hills as part of a global network of state-of-the-art centers also equipped with mobile ground plane technology, including two facilities in Europe.

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