The Car Bully and the Car Lover

No car goes on sale without first running the test gauntlet. This is the story of engineers designing tests, an unusual tale of romance and violence.

How do you bully a car? Drive it on an unsurfaced road. Collide with something on the road. Drive it through water. But don't worry. This kind of "bullying" is all just part of the meticulous tests a new car undergoes. Everything is designed to enhance the quality of the vehicle and it's all actually done only out of love.

Nissan's automobiles drive on all sorts of roads. Whatever the bumps or obstacles in the road, whether it's a rainy or stormy day, a properly surfaced road or unsurfaced one, it's Nissan's mission above all to ensure that its cars can be driven comfortably and above all safely, no matter the conditions. Nissan's engineers conduct tests and endless simulations to check exactly what happens in case of the unexpected, the "what if..." scenario.

The tests for an EV required all new ideas, including literally 'conducting' an experiment with a lightning strike.

A Car's Go-To Trainer

The people behind these rigorous tests are a team of ace engineers, the Vehicle Reliability Test Group. Every day they keep up their tenacious, even cruel, persecution of Nissan automobiles. For a car, the testers are kind of like a personal trainer in a gym.

Since the lower half of a car has many important parts, the bullies need to check if friction from protrusions on the road damages the car in any way. Even the smallest crack can lead to fuel leaks and serious accidents. When a vehicle goes over a bump there is a possibility that internal parts will collide and cause damage. Inside a car's very limited space there are all sorts of complex mechanical features, and with such narrow margins, maintaining safety against accidents is vital. To work out the best way to store these parts in the car, the bullies carry out experiments testing and measuring to the millimeter.

All Nissan's cars have to clear a staggering number of tests before they can finally get their stripes, and be ready for the real world. As Vehicle Reliability Test Group manager Kazuhiro Obayashi says, "Nissan's forte lies in working from the perspective of safety and accident prevention from the planning right through to the manufacturing."

Recreating road conditions from all over the world, engineers check car safety when driving over obstacles and bumps.

An Electric Vehicle: The Ultimate Muse

In 2010 the "bullies" from the testing section reached the peak of their uniquely expressed love. The reason? Enter the EV. These personal trainers may well have dispatched countless other Nissan vehicles safely off to all the corners of the globe but an electric vehicle represented new, uncharted waters. All the things that might seem unnecessary to test for in a gasoline car don't apply when it comes to an EV. In the end, there's only way to satisfy all the doubts: Test, test, and test.

Whatever the special features or appeal a car might have, if the basic performance of the model is defective then it's worthless. Tests exist to check the safety of the car and to prevent hazards. We take it for granted that whatever the circumstances or conditions our vehicle will protect the safety and security of the passengers and driver. The bullies make it so.

Today the testing team is continuing its labor of love to groom 100% safe vehicles through vast numbers of stringent tests. And the driving force for this "bullying"? Their pride as engineers in the knowledge that customers can use their vehicles without worry.Now the task is for everyone at Nissan to develop more vehicles that satisfy testers' cravings for more "victims."