Shanghai-based personal mobility provider, Aiways, has completed a crucial and demanding cycle of product testing for its next model, the U6 SUV-Coupé. After comprehensive test drives under extreme climate conditions (winter/summer testing), the Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé prototype was put through rigorous endurance and performance tests to fine-tune the dynamics and deliver an exceptional driving experience.
Eight vehicles completed 240 days of testing at the Yancheng Zhongqi Research Automobile Proving Ground, which is also used by international OEMs. The cars covered nearly 400,000 kilometers each. Aiways estimates that the total distance covered so far during the R&D process for the U6 SUV-Coupé equates to around 1.2 million kilometers. Aiways CTO, Jet Zhang, sets the tone, “Our rigorous testing procedures are guiding us to an outstanding product quality for ambitious customers.”
Testing at the Yancheng proving ground allowed Aiways’ engineers to optimize the durability of the vehicle’s structure, powertrain, and performance. Structural strength, assembly quality and powertrain were also analyzed, alongside reliability, economy, and power, as well as noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH).
The U6 SUV-Coupé has undergone over 150 test cycles on changing road load conditions and hardness tests in preparation for real-world driving. Engineers even tested the vehicle’s capabilities in misuse conditions, such as poor driving techniques, to ensure that the U6’s performance is always at its best, regardless of external influences.
The working conditions of the Yancheng Proving Ground were an invaluable resource for a range of performance tests that were conducted to complement the durability tests during the development phase. The venue provides access to a straight-line performance road, control road, braking road, comfort road, high-speed circuit, high-speed bowl with parabolic curve, durability circuit and ramp. Each facilitated the dynamic performance tests that covered the vehicle’s braking, ride and handling and stability. The Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé’s performance consistently exceeded the expectations and development targets of Aiways’ engineering team in each of these tests.
The Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé effortlessly reached an electronically governed top speed of 160km/h during testing, accelerating from 0-to-100km/h in less than seven seconds. The vehicle is equipped with Bosch’s second-generation brake booster, the iBooster with ESP® hev brake control system, specifically developed for hybrid and electric vehicles. The vacuum-independent, electromechanical brake iBooster is paired with Bosch’s ESP® hev module to allow faster build-up of pressure and enable shorter stopping distances. The intelligent system helps the braking unit respond three times faster than conventional brakes and ensures maximum energy recuperation. According to the feedback from Aiways engineers, the actual measured braking distance of the Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé from 100km/h is 34.4m, which can further improve the safety of users during high-speed driving.
Over the course of its development, the Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé has also been tested away from the proving ground in more natural driving conditions covering 55 types of different road surfaces over 1,000 test cycles.
Six different sets of low rolling resistance tires were evaluated over 40 times to improve lateral stiffness and grip for optimal steering accuracy and handling performance, while also considering NVH, comfort and economic performance. This laid the foundations for expert chassis tuning, for which Aiways partnered with internationally renowned motorsport and performance engineering specialist, Prodrive. The chassis was fine-tuned on a variety of primary and secondary roads, allowing for improvements to the stiffness of the front and rear springs and stabilizer bars, and re-configuration of the damping characteristics of the shock absorber.
Through fine tuning the electric power steering, the vehicle is now responsive to inputs via the steering wheel, making lane changes smooth and cornering more precise, and ensuring the body posture is stable balanced, further improving easy driving maneuverability. The advanced braking system reached a further development step and was adapted to suit the inclined sports style chassis, including adjustments to the linear force behind the brake pedal, the fast and sensitive response of the Traction Control System and the timing and precision of intervention from the Electronic Stability Programme. All Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé’s electronic assist systems are reaching a new level of precision now.
These rigorous and demanding tests will increase the U6 SUV-Coupé body strength, performance, and safety capabilities to a new level in its segment, reflecting Aiways’ strict requirements for high quality, state-of-the-art safety, and an unsurpassed unique user experience. The completion of the Yancheng test adds to the winter extreme cold testing already completed and follows international high automotive industry standards. The next round of testing will focus on strict compliance and high consistency, ensuring the Aiways U6 SUV-Coupé will convince future oriented customers with an active lifestyle when it joins the European EV market in Q4 of 2022.