How durable and hard-wearing are electric cars?

Ford has been putting 118-years-worth of vehicle torture testing know-how to good use as it demonstrates how durable electric vehicles (EVs) can be. A team of Ford engineers put the Mustang Mach-E through tests designed to stress it beyond typical consumer use. This included extreme car washes and power sprayers to robotic butts and sharp gravel roads.

Donna Dickson, Ford Mustang Mach-E chief programme engineer, said: “We have gone to great lengths to subject Mustang Mach-E to extreme tests. Stressing it much more than a typical consumer would to ensure it is ready to face the rigour of the open road.”

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Ford are investing heavily into electric cars and vehicles spending $29 billion through 2025 and want to make sure they’re road ready. A survey conducted by global research and analytics consultancy, PSB, in 2019 found that around 13 percent of Europeans were unsure if electric vehicles can get wet while being driven in the rain, much less be able to go through a car wash.

To help reassure electric drivers, Ford subjected the Mustang Mach-E to 60 passes through a brutal, suds-free automatic conveyor wash complete with sprayers, brushes and dryers. This is the equivalent of a wash every two weeks for more than two years.

To test against leaks and exterior damage that could be caused by water, the team blasted the door frames, trim, cowling, badges, headlamps, taillights and adhesives with a high-pressure water sprayer. The sprayer is capable of pressures up to 117-Bar (1,700 PSI) and a temperature of 60-degrees-Celsius and was sprayed 30cm from the vehicle’s exterior.

Along with the wet weather testing, Ford also tested the seats using a ‘robotic butt’ to simulate getting in and out at least 25,000 times. The also included chemical and abrasion testing to simulate a 10-year use cycle.

When it came to the exterior, Ford’s subjected the Mach-E to 300 miles (483km) of stone-chip testing on gravel roads to evaluate the damage caused to body paint by small rocks and cinder.

Ford used two different grades of gravel stones as professional drivers fishtailed the zero-emissions car over a mile-long stretch. They hit it 200 times at 60 mph before swapping for a sharper grade of stone and repeating the test.

Dickson added: “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.”

If anyone ever had any doubts about the durability of electric cars this video should dispel all those myths. Electric cars are equally as hard-wearing as their petrol equivalents, only they’re zero emissions.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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