Automakers regardless of brand, make, or model conduct vehicle testing to ensure the end goal of safety and user confidence. Karma Automotive is no exception to the rule. A fleet of pre-production Revero GT vehicles have continually served as test beds to implement the latest in Karma technology, while our engineers systematically conduct extensive testing such as performance trials, road-testing, and research and development. Karma engineers recently traveled to Death Valley, followed by a trek to Manitou Springs, Colorado, to test our vehicles performance under various altitude conditions.
“We want our customers to be able to experience our car as intended and not have to worry about where or how they are driving,” mentioned Lead Vehicle Integration and Validation Engineer, Garren Salibian. “We put all of our pre-production cars through rigorous tests to ensure we identify and resolve any concerns before delivery to our customers.”
Death Valley: Low Altitude Testing
Initial testing began with Vehicle Integration and Validation Engineer, Nick Ghysels driving a pre-production Revero GT to the Nevada and Death Valley border to commence low altitude testing. The vehicle was instrumented with a high resolution GPS antenna to track the altitude prior to descending from a peak elevation of 4,000 ft., through Death Valley National Park to an area known as Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, with a recorded depth of 282 ft. (86 m) below sea level.
According to Ghysels, the test procedure focused on the engine control module (ECM) managing fuel pressurization and monitoring CAN (Controller Area Network) logs to detect potential faults on any of their respected networks including powertrain, HVAC, and more. “Vehicles tested at elevations below sea level will experience high ambient pressures. We monitored how our Revero GT reacted to the elevation changes using the latest software calibration,” explained Ghysels. He continued by saying, “Our initial data looked really promising and the vehicle performed flawlessly without issues.”
Pikes Peak: High Altitude Testing
Starting at the base of Pikes Peak, engineers Ghysels and Salibian topped off the test vehicles fuel tank before making their scheduled drive up the mountain to test calibration of the fuel tank pressure system, monitor for low pressure sensor readings, and detect potential loss of powertrain performance or irregularity.
“Traditional hybrid vehicles use a novel system to manage evaporative fuel emissions. Since the gasoline engine in a hybrid car operates irregularly, there’s a need to store pressurized fuel vapor developed by the system within the fuel tank. A fuel tank isolation valve (FTIV) controls vapor emissions from the fuel tank to the evap. canister, which is then fed back into the engine to burn,” Ghysels continued by saying, “The operation of this FTIV is controlled by the engine control module (ECM). We began the first leg of our test in Stealth (all-electric mode) to monitor proper performance of the FTIV in low ambient pressure conditions without the internal combustion engine running and monitor how our vehicle would react.”
“Overall, testing went well. We ascended and descended Pikes Peak a total of 5 times,” said Salibian. The car completed an initial trip up the mountain in EV mode with a good portion of the battery being replenished using regenerative braking down the mountain. Regenerative braking is a testament to why electric drivetrains offer a competitive advantage compared to internal combustion as you get back a certain portion of energy that is consumed.” Salibian added that Karma has plans to return to Pikes Peak this summer to extend testing.
In the upcoming months, we will continue to bring our pre-production vehicles to various testing grounds for further vehicle development and improvements. Stay tuned for future articles on Karma’s battery technology and the next chapter of testing as we continually push the boundaries to deliver distinctive luxury electric vehicle experiences through innovative design, technology and customization.
This post was edited 05/21/2019 20:07:38