Ford torture-tests the Mustang Mach-E in durability display

Ford torture-tests the Mustang Mach-E in durability display

Ford has been putting its 118 years of experience in vehicle-torture testing to use in a bid to demonstrate just how durable electric vehicles can be. From extreme car washes and power sprayers to robotic butts and sharp gravel roads, a team of Ford engineers put the Ford Mustang Mach-E through torture tests designed to stress it beyond typical consumer use.

According to a survey conducted by global research and analytics consultancy PSB in June 2019, around 13 per cent of Europeans were unsure if electric vehicles can get wet while being driven in the rain – much less be able to go through a full car wash.

In response to some of the findings of the survey - which covered 3,000 people across Europe, USA and China - Ford subjected the Mustang Mach-E to 60 passes through a brutal, suds-free automatic conveyor wash complete with sprayers, brushes, and dryers: the equivalent of a wash every two weeks for more than two years.

To help test against leaks and other exterior damage that could be caused by water, the team blasted the door frames, trim, cowling, badges, headlamps, taillamps and adhesives of the Mustang Mach-E with a high-pressure water sprayer. The sprayer is capable of pressures up to 1,700 PSI and a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius and is sprayed at a distance of about one foot away from the vehicle’s exterior. That kind of pressure can remove oil stains from driveways when used with detergents.

Ford tested for just about anything customers might subject their seats to. Ford engineers studied varying weight loads on the seats using a wide range of human body types. The team did so by programming a robotic “butt” form , or “robutt”, to simulate a person getting in and out of their Mustang Mach-E – at least 25,000 times.

They also extensively tested the vehicle’s ActiveX seating material to withstand daily use and abuse. This included chemical testing to help ensure products like hand sanitizer do not deteriorate the material, abrasion testing to ensure the finish stays put after simulating a 10-year use cycle, and flexing the seating material 100,000 times to assess its resistance to cracking.

Ford engineers also subjected the Mustang Mach-E to 300 miles of stone-chip testing on gravel roads to evaluate damage caused to body paint by small rocks and cinder. Ford used two different grades of gravel stones to test as professional drivers fishtailed Mustang Mach-E over a miles-long stretch of scattered gravel on pavement at 60 mph nearly 200 times.

Once the first test was completed, the team then swapped the gravel for an even sharper grade of stone and repeated the test all over again.

“Electric vehicles shouldn’t be limited to nicely paved city streets and suburbia. We tested Mustang Mach-E so that customers can confidently live on or adventure down gravel roads and not worry about their paint easily chipping,” said Donna Dickson, chief programme engineer, Mustang Mach-E.

“We have gone to great lengths to subject Mustang Mach-E to extreme tests – stressing it much more than a typical consumer would – to help ensure it is ready to face the rigor of the open road.”

Olly Goodall

Author:Olly Goodall
Date Updated:17th Aug 2021

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