Volvo buses put to the toughest of tests

At Volvo’s proving ground in Hällered, Sweden, Volvo buses are put to the test under the toughest conditions. It’s to ensure that every product meets all demands when it comes to quality, reliability and safety.

Volvo bus on test drive at the proving ground in Hällered, Sweden

A Volvo bus drives at high speed through a water hazard to check that all safety functions work, that the luggage compartment remains sealed, and that no moisture leaks into the cables or engine.

The 700-hectar test facility near Gothenburg, is a central part of Volvo Buses’ operations. 24 hours a day, all year round, both virtual and physical testing of complete vehicles, chassis and components are performed at various stages of development.

“The testing is a very important part of Volvo Buses’ development work and means we can guarantee the highest quality, reliability and safety of our products,” says Jonas Kjellén, Group Manager Vehicle Test and Measurement Volvo Buses, who is responsible for a team of around 15 employees, including test engineers, mechanics and test drivers who work at Hällered.

Tests for reliability and function are conducted on complete buses. The team look at the tests from the perspective of the owner, passenger, driver and the technician.

“By operating the bus around the clock for five days a week, we can test the bus´s entire expected life in just a few months. The goal is to reflect the customer's reality as much as possible and we therefore test different scenarios,” says Jonas Kjellén.

The goal is to reflect the customers’ reality as much as possible and we therefore test different scenarios.

Jonas Kjellén, Group Manager Vehicle Test and Measurement Volvo Buses

Jonas Kjellén, Group Manager Vehicle Test and Measurement Volvo Buses

Jonas Kjellén, Group Manager Vehicle Test and Measurement Volvo Buses

The proving ground at Hällered features 15 different test tracks where anything and everything a bus can conceivably be subjected to in its lifetime, can be recreated and tested. For instance, there is a four-lane high-speed test track for simulating highway driving, different types of water hazards, hilly slopes, a track for tight corner driving and a cobblestone road for shake tests. Volvo Buses’ team test everything from the vehicle’s fuel consumption, drivability and stability, to brakes, tires and interior sound levels. There are also numerous tests for the reliability and endurance of the vehicle’s software.

With the help of the results from the test tracks and laboratories, Volvo Buses' test team can then perform a thorough analysis to verify that all vehicles and products meet the legal requirements and certifications.

“The tests are crucial for us to know what kind of product the end customer receives. We can't test everything 100 per cent, but we capture about 90 per cent of the market with these samples,” says Jonas Kjellén.

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