Ford Shows How It Used Robotic Butts To Test Mach-E Durability

The car went through several harsh tests to discover how it handles wear and tear.

Ford has the “Built Ford Tough” slogan that the Blue Oval Stands by, arguing its vehicles are extra durable, particularly the ones destined for heavier duty use. But the manufacturer says it still builds all its vehicles tough, including its first proper mass market electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E.

In a recently published press release, Ford explains what it put the Mach-E through in order to see how well it copes with wear and tear. These torture tests simulate more difficult situations that the car could face, such as a high-pressure car wash, driving on gravel roads at 60 mph (96 km/h) to see how easily the paint chips or how durable the windscreen is, among others.

Donna Dickson, chief programme engineer for the Mustang Mach-E explains that

We have gone to great lengths to subject Mustang Mach-E to extreme tests – stressing it much more than a typical consumer would – to help ensure it is ready to face the rigor of the open road. 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.

The vehicle was put through what Ford describes as a brutal high-pressure (at up to 1,700 PSI) suds-free conveyor wash sixty times, simulating the equivalent of two years’ worth of washing the vehicle every two weeks. Possibly the most amusing wear test that it was put through was the so-called robotic butt test.

Ford’s engineering team affectionately dubbed it ‘robutt’ and all it does is simulate a person getting in and out of the vehicle repeatedly, causing accelerated wear on the seat. Robutt simulated ingress and egress at least 25,000 for this vehicle to make sure the seat was up to the task. 

The Mach-E’s big 15.5-inch central infotainment screen was also tested for durability. Ford says it has a special coating that makes it withstand anything the average user could throw at it. They even yanked on the rotary control that is actually glued onto the lower part of the screen and it appeared to be stuck on there quite well.

Donna Dickson also pointed out that

The screen in the Mustang Mach-E is so crucial to the driving experience. It’s the centrepiece of the interior and people’s eyes just naturally go right to it. We knew we had to go above and beyond to make sure it is durable enough to withstand daily customer interactions — think purses and bags hitting it, pets bumping into it, children playing with it and so on. You need that deep customer understanding to identify the potential issues and work to prevent them.


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