Hyundai is investing $15 million to build a hot/cold environmental test center at its Michigan technology campus to boost its in-house testing capabilities.
“This will be the first time for Hyundai to build such a facility in North America,” Dr. Sung Hwan Cho, President of Hyundai America Technical Center Inc. (HATCI), said during the second day of press previews at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Sometime after the new 20,000-ft² (1858-m²) facility’s construction wraps, expected in the spring of 2013, Hyundai engineers will perform the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s SC03 Supplement Federal Test Procedure as well as other emissions tests on-site at HATCI in Superior Township, MI.
The SC03 test with air-conditioning, as one example, is currently done off-site since the environmental testing procedure must be conducted at 95°F (35°C). Testing requires that a vehicle soak for a period of time at a specified controlled ambient temperature before chassis dynamometer emissions testing is performed.
HATCI’s hot/cold testing facility—a new structure that will be attached to the existing 200,000-ft² (18,580-m²) building—will be capable of reaching temperatures of -40°F (-40°C) to more than 245°F (118°C).
According to John Juriga, HATCI’s Director of Powertrain, the ability to do in-house environmental testing is important in light of the automotive industry’s ever-expanding emissions standards.
“We’ll be able to do more work at HATCI, and that will make us more efficient and more effective,” said Juriga, adding, “Our new environmental facility and the various analysis tools and other equipment that we’ll have in this new lab will give us the ability to meet current and pending emissions standards as well as future emissions regulations.”
As Hyundai transitions to offering gasoline direct-injection (GDI) engines as a replacement to its port fuel-injection engine portfolio, the new facility’s equipment will enable engineers to conduct complete particulate emissions tests on GDI engines.
“The new regulations do not specifically make emission standards more stringent for GDI but rather add tougher standards for particulate emissions. GDI engines typically generate more particulate emissions. Therefore, we need the new equipment,” noted Juriga.
HATCI employs 170, the vast majority being engineers and technical specialists. During the next three years, 50 full-time HATCI jobs will be added. Those additional positions will primarily be for engineers.
HATCI is the design, technology, and engineering arm for all North American models of the South Korea-based Hyundai-KIA Motors Group. The company’s MI tech center currently has three chassis dynamometers, one mapping dynamometer, and four engine dynamometers. A new chassis dynamometer will be among the key pieces of equipment in the environmental lab.