50 Years at the Chelsea Proving Grounds
Chrysler Group Celebrates 50 Years of Vehicle Development and Reliability Testing at the Chelsea Proving Grounds
10,000 Crash Tests
550 Million Durability Miles
Chrysler Group’s Chelsea Proving Grounds Plays a Critical Role in Developing High-Quality Vehicles
Auburn Hills, Mich., Jun 15, 2004 - Chrysler Group’s Chelsea Proving Grounds is a state-of-the-art testing facility and engineering laboratory that celebrates 50 years of service on June 16, 2004. It has been involved in the noise, vibration and harshness, ride and handling, drivability and emission calibration of over 800 different products since the facility started operations in 1954.
“The Chelsea Proving Grounds provides an up-front analysis on all Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge brand vehicles to ensure reliable and durable products,” said Donald E. Goodwin, Vice President — Scientific Laboratories and Proving Grounds, Chrysler Group. “This facility is a one-stop shop for comprehensive vehicle testing, cascading technical improvements throughout the corporation.”
The Chelsea Proving Grounds houses 3,800 acres, 700 employees and 95 miles of durability roads – 47 miles of asphalt, 36 miles of concrete and 12 miles of gravel roads, as well as the most comprehensive off-road testing events and trails.
Vehicle development is evaluated by multiple facilities within the Chelsea Proving Grounds. For example, the Laboratory facilities include the emissions laboratory with 14 chassis dynamometers, emissions measurements with computerized data analysis, a temperature controlled soak room, parasitic-loss dynamometer, a ride and roll rig (measures spring heights and body roll characteristics), cold and hot rooms, a surface plate and a brake, instrument, computer and photographic laboratory.
The Impact Test Building is 26,000 square feet and is used to anticipate how each component will work together during a crash to absorb and reduce crash forces sent to passengers. Air bag and restraint development, sensor calibrations, vehicle structure and component development and government regulations are the factors addressed. The Chelsea Proving Grounds Impact facility has the highest volume of tests in the industry. Furthermore, new Chrysler Group vehicles are tested beyond the current regulations with tests such as the pole test and high-speed rear impact to improve vehicle safety and help ensure optimum performance in a wide range of crash scenarios.
The 11,000-square-foot wind tunnel is used for engine cooling, underhood temperatures, air conditioning, wind noise and aerodynamic design. The wind velocity in the tunnel simulates speeds up to 120 mph on full-size vehicles and 150 mph on a 3/8 scale model. A 12˝-foot-diameter, 16-blade fan driven by a 600-horsepower electric motor can force 670,000 cubic feet of air per minute through the 280-foot long loop.
The Handling and Evaluation Road is 1.6 miles long and was designed for the development and testing of vehicle suspension systems at the extreme limits of their capability. The road consists of a series of curves of various radii, with the pavement sloping both into and away from the center of the curvature.
“The Chelsea Proving Grounds is key in the Chrysler Group’s overall quality and engineering advancements,” Goodwin said. “The correlation of test procedures to real-world customer usage will continue to produce significant contributions.”
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