Even with a mild winter in Bordentown, potholes are a rite of spring. But it is simulated cracks and craters in the pavement developed by General Motors’ engineers that help develop the ride quality of vehicles like the global Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan, available at Bob Maguire Chevrolet.
The buildup of moisture in the small holes and cracks in the road during the winter months alternates between freezing and thawing as temperatures fall and rise, causing expansion and contraction of the road surface. The result can be significant breaks in the pavement under the weight of normal vehicle traffic.
The potholes at GM’s Milford Proving Ground don’t look like the ones drivers encounter on daily commutes. These are specially designed, fabricated in metal and planted into the ground with concrete surface around them. The downslope and the ramp up in these engineered potholes vary to simulate severity of road damage and recreate varied load conditions that occur in a vehicle when it is driven through one.
The designer potholes allow for controlled, repetitive testing, necessary to assess durability and help determine the fine tuning that contributes to a comfortable ride.
“With spring sunshine, comes potholes, which can be a drivers worst enemy,” said Michael Maguire, President of Bob Maguire Chevrolet. “Chevy has gone above and beyond with testing of the Cruze, and we’re more than confident drivers in the area will be satisfied with the vehicle.”
The Cruze, which has sold more than 1.13 million units in more than 100 markets around the world since its launch in late 2009, underwent extensive road testing around the world to ensure consistent ride quality and comfort from Korea to Bordentown and points between.
“We’ve got a wide variety of road surfaces that simulate real-world road conditions around the globe,” says Frank Barhorst, who supervises the Product Usage Measurements and Applications group in Milford. “The range of road surfaces that we test on goes from good to bad, in order to find the most-balanced condition for each vehicle we develop.”
“For durability, we might want roads with potholes or twist events. For noise, it could be chatter bumps on a dirt road, or concrete that is getting old and bald. Then there are considerations such as loose gravel for handling,” said Barhorst.
The Cruze is Chevrolet’s best-selling nameplate and helped the brand sell more passenger cars than any automaker in the United States in 2011.