The prototype is then assembled. As soon as the complete chassis is ready in a separate workstation, the body is mounted on the chassis. The cockpit is then assembled and the complete electronics are hooked up. Once the entire prototype has been put together, all the electronics are “brought to life”, all the necessary software is loaded into the car, and all the driver-assistance systems are calibrated. The finished car is thoroughly checked, in part to make sure that it is functioning as planned.
The new prototype is now ready to perform the tasks it has been created for: testing and trialling. Although the proportion of development conducted virtually is increasing all the time, dozens of bodies and test prototypes still need to be made for each new model.
Thousands of hours of tough and challenging testing await the finished prototype.
“By the time a specific model of a car begins mass production, it has already covered over two million kilometres and undergone thousands of hours of rigorous testing. Prototypes are exposed to extreme conditions in an environmental chamber and undergo driving tests, crash tests, and tests of their overall functionality. Each component is also quality controlled,” says Vaněk, as he describes all the reasons for prototypes.
Naturally, all tests are assessed. The results of testing, simulations and calculations either confirm that development of the new car is headed in the right direction, or result in changes that will improve the future production car. Put simply, from time to time practical tests reveal areas that can be improved. At this stage, designers and engineers return to the process to provide input data for prototype construction and to verify that their designs work. EGV staff pass on their experience to the production units responsible for preparing the mass production of the future model.
When everything is ready for the new model’s mass production and its introduction to the public, the role played by prototypes comes to an end. Prototypes never come into with customers and, once they have done what is expected of them, their materials are recycled.