MGA has been developing and building safety test equipment for over 40 years to be used to test vehicles and components for crashworthiness. Typically changes and additions to specifications drive equipment innovation and development. Electric vehicles have changed the way tests are conducted. In case of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 214 Side Impact Protection, massive updates to equipment were necessary. With MGA’s experience and expertise, these changes were made quickly.
The main appeal of Electric vehicles is to produce less emissions. Using electricity instead of fossil fuels will change the energy industry in major ways. There are also technology innovations that are less visible when designing these vehicles such as using a “skateboard” platform. This is basically a frame that houses the battery, chassis and motor(s) where the body of a car is mounted to. This change in design has created new challenges with the existing MGA side impact tester.
Side Impact Protection for vehicles in the United States has been a requirement since October 30th, 1970 through Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) No. 214. The specification has been updated over the years adding dynamic and a pole tests to the requirements, however, the Door Crush Resistance test requirements and methods have largely remained the same. Because of the battery pack at the base of most electric vehicles, OEM’s designed the side sills to be much more rigid in order to prevent batteries from getting damaged during a crash. On some of the early electric vehicle testing, MGA saw loads far exceeding typical combustion vehicles.
MGA began designing a new system to handle the additional forces and side loads that these new vehicles created. Personnel from several facilities collaborated on the design and build of this new system. The new system needed to obtain the higher loads, better handle the uneven forces on the load form and be able to use different capacity load cells. The team in New York manufactured and assembled the structure and hydraulic controller and the Michigan team developed the software and performed the prove-out testing. The new stand-alone system was finished and successfully performed an actual test in just under five months. The new system has 6 times the load capacity, is stiffer vertically and laterally and can be used for FMVSS 223 or other custom-static applications.