All posts in “crash test”

Rimac Nevera crash tests: Nine 1,914-hp supercars destroyed

Homologating a car to meet the various safety rules for various markets is a time-consuming and very expensive proposition. For the Rimac Nevera, a 1,914-horsepower electric supercar, that process has taken four years, a company-issued release says. 

Billed as the fastest-accelerating car in the world, the Nevera goes 0-to-60 in just 1.85 seconds and claims a top speed of 258 mph. It stickers at €2 million ($2.27 million), so its crash testing was not to be taken lightly.

Rimac says that Nevera prototypes were put through the ringer with 45 physical crash tests that destroyed nine examples. If you’re keeping track, that’s over $20 million in smashed Rimacs. 

Fortunately, for the many more passive safety tests, computer simulations could be used instead. Rimac says engineers conducted thousands of digital trials using High Performance Cluster computers capable of extremely detailed simulations. A physical test might take just 80 milliseconds, Rimac says, but a single HPCC simulations could take as long as 20 hours of processing time.

The simulations also proved useful in telling engineers what kind of adjustments were required to get the actual crash test cars to pass. They then made those changes to the real cars’s design before, as Rimac puts it, “subject[ing] them to ‘the wall’.”

While European crash testing was completed last year, the final test for U.S. certification took place in January. The test in question mimicked a 20 mph side impact with a pole, to replicate sliding into a lamppost or tree (this seems to be an all-too common fate for supercars). It’s a difficult test, as it strikes the car in a spot where there’s very little car — and thus little space for energy-absorbing crumple zones — between the stationary object and the occupants.

However, the company says that the Nevara performed quite well — so well, in fact, that the door closest to the impact could still be opened post-crash. The fact that the Nevara is composed of a carbon fiber monocoque — the largest single piece of carbon fiber used in a car — that stretches from the front suspension to the rear. Rimac says that makes the Nevara the stiffest production car ever built. Its torsional rigidity measures 70,000 Nm/degree, while a “regular” supercar registers 40,000 Nm/degree, the company explained. It also adds that the 440-pound monocoque can withstand more than three times the weight of the car.

Only 150 Nevaras will be built, each powered by four motors and a 120 kWh, 6960-cell battery that provides 1,914 horsepower and 1,741 lb-ft of torque. Hopefully the crashed units don’t factor into that production tally.

Koenigsegg preparing its cars for crash tests is an ugly affair

Christian von Koenigsegg has opened up his Angelholm shop again to show us another facet of producing hypercars for worldwide export. This time the subject is crash testing, and the resulting video looks like a mashup of a YouTube supercar fail compilation and “Mythbusters.” This is because in between the footage of a Regera being run over a curb or through a trench, Koenigsegg employees slamming the doors and beating on raw carbon parts with mallets.

As company homologation manager David Tugas explains, Koenigsegg can’t simply pull a dozen cars off a production line for crash testing. The carbon monocoque that forms the passenger cell is the crucial structure; everything else is expendable. A supercomputer in the company basement runs simulations on how carbon fiber structures behave in crashes, helping the company design a monocoque that can withstand the necessary impacts. So unless the monocoque breaks, the same passenger cell gets used in all the crash tests. After that, it’s cheaper for Koenigsegg to simply rebuild the body panels and mechanical parts attached to the monocoque that break during in-house testing. It’s all rather Formula 1.

It takes three months to prepare a crash test car for testing at a facility in Barcelona. That will cover everything from getting the smart airbags to blow in just the right way with just the right force, to getting them not to blow when someone hits the undercarriage with a sledgehammer. The knowledge and the carnage help explain where the $2 or $3 million goes in ever Koenigsegg.

Watch a Koenigsegg Regera go through some brutal crash testing

Every modern car must go through some form of crash testing. For vehicles like the Ford F-150 or Toyota Camry, sparing a car or 20 is a drop in the bucket compared to the total output. For small automakers, though, destroying a single vehicle for testing purposes can be costly. Koenigsegg seems to have taken it to heart and made a special video to celebrate a million followers on the automaker’s Instagram page.

The short clip shows a naked Regera going through some fairly brutal testing. In addition to side, front and rear impacts, the Regera gets beaten with mallets, jumps curbs and has the doors slammed with some pretty brute force. Watch how the carbon fiber flexes during some of the impacts. Honestly, it looks like a ton of fun to beat the hell out of a multi-million-dollar Swedish hypercar.

More automakers need to make a show about crash testing. When I was in Korea, Hyundai was kind enough to ram a Kona into a cement wall at about 100 km/h for a large group of journalists. I never want to see any harm come to my own vehicles, but if you’re going to crash a car, do it with style.

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