BMW Group opens new testing centre in Arjeplog/Sweden
The opening of the new testing centre in Arjeplog enables the BMW Group to focus all winter testing activities into a single location. In future, specialists of various disciplines can work together in the same place, for example to harmonise drive, chassis and auxiliary units and testing them in a single vehicle. The involvement of development partners from the area of system supply will be much easier too. For example, the integrated development work commonly practised at the BMW Group’s Research and Development Centre (FIZ) in Munich can also be conducted in Arjeplog. For the engineers of the BMW Group this will result in faster and more efficient development processes, and for customers the quality of vehicles will increase even further.
Modern workshops, perfect test routes, constant cold.
The testing centre has been built exclusively for the BMW Group and provides engineers with optimum logistics in perfect surroundings. Offices and conference rooms, workshops and vehicle halls have been designed for flexible and intensive use. Two workshops offer vehicle workplaces for 50 people. There is a heated garage for 25 vehicles and an unheated hall for 60 vehicles, as well as 60 outdoor parking spaces, 80 of them with engine-warmer connection. And the necessary precautions have been taken just in case it does not quite get cold enough in Arjeplog: eight climate chambers have been installed where the vehicles can be cooled to minus 30 degrees.
740 metres of circuit, 3.2 kilometres of heating lines
The 28-hectare testing ground includes a testing circuit of 740 metres in length, a 660-metre driving dynamics area, asphalt areas which can be heated and cooled, a slope with gradients between 10 and 25 per cent and a chequered sample route for driving and braking tests on changing surfaces. Just for the temperature control of the land testing routes a total of 3.2 kilometres of heating lines and 1.8 kilometres of cooling lines were installed. And the test drivers can go out for a spin on the prepared ice tracks of the frozen Lake Kakel nearby.
Swedish government supports BMW’s involvement.
With the cold, ice and snow, the northern Swedish province of Norrbotten poses extreme challenges to man and material alike – at the same time providing ideal conditions for sophisticated testing programs. In particular the constant temperatures allow reproducible test conditions to be created and thus meaningful results to be gained. Vehicle testing at the Arctic Circle has a long tradition. 30 years ago, new BMW models were subjected to cold tests in Arjeplog. The region has since become the preferred winter testing ground for the entire automotive industry. BMW Group is now the first manufacturer to have a testing centre constructed exclusively for its own use. This secures the status of the region as a testing area and provides a long-term economic boost. The BMW Group has invested some 16 million euros in the construction of the new testing centre. The Swedish government has supported the project with a subsidy of 15 per cent. Buildings and equipment were provided by Swedish companies, and eleven permanent jobs provided for employees from the region.
In addition to this, the involvement of the BMW Group secures a large number of jobs with local suppliers who accommodate and feed the engineers, as well as preparing the testing areas. Between November and April, there will be at least 100 BMW Group employees permanently installed in Arjeplog, though the personnel will change constantly since a period of around 2 weeks is required for each testing program. The variety of testing activities is broad. In the main testing season from January to March, the number of engineers at the BMW Group development centre will increase to 200.