We spoke with Amnon Haviv, Manager of Afikim’s Engineering department with more than 15 years of experience in developing mobility scooters, about the testing process.
Q: Why the lengthy field testing process before product launch?
With every scooter, there is a learning curve that necessitates uncompromising focus on the smallest details. After years of development and laboratory testing, the vehicles also need to be tested in the field. The testing is required to finetune the vehicle and make precise adjustments based on tester feedback- ensuring that the Breeze C mobility will deliver perfect results and perform to customer expectations, every time. It’s a long complex, and costly process which significantly improves performance.
Q: Is it true that Breeze C underwent five years of testing when calculated in km?
The scooters were driven for 8-10 hours each day, over a six-month period, in order to simulate their average lifespan. 1000-1500 km is equivalent to about five years of customer usage. The weight and load were comparable to the maximum weight and load the vehicle can carry. As such, Breeze C had to stand up to the toughest conditions with every aspect monitored and recorded in detail, enabling the engineers to constantly refine the vehicle based on up-to-date field data. Reengineered parts were incorporated into the vehicle to undergo further testing, until we were 100% satisfied with performance.
Q: How was Breeze C put to the test?
The mobility scooter is made up of a number of parts including chassis, pistons, shock absorbers, potentiometers, power unit, electronic control, and more. First, each part is tested separately. Next, the scooter is assembled to check and monitor its performance as a total unit. Finally, we test Breeze C under the conditions that various drivers in different locations and situations are likely to experience. We enlisted the assistance of a group of students for field testing, keeping a close eye on every aspect of the scooter’s performance. The scooter was put through rigorous tests to monitor its performance uphill, downhill, and on flat and bumpy surfaces to assess where the vehicle could undergo improvements before market launch. This process shakes out the bugs found during every new product release, eliminating many of the malfunctions that occur subsequent to the launch of a new model. It is the first time such extensive field testing has been undertaken on a new vehicle.
Q: What were testers looking for?
Breeze C was checked for a wide array of parameters including load bearing capability on ascent and descent, performance and durability on rough terrain, as well as crowded urban environments, tire wear, and operation under various weights, angles, and field conditions.
After the scooter had undergone extensive testing, including extreme driving tests by students, we called on the serviced of experienced mobility scooter drivers (from the kibbutz) to test the vehicle. The presence of numerous scooter drivers living in close proximity to the factory enabled us to closely follow their progress and obtain informative and in-depth feedback on the scooter performance. This real-life testing by long-time drivers under a variety of conditions gave us further insight into the scooter’s performance, handling, operation, and comfort.
Q: Do you have 100% confidence in Breeze C?
I have total confidence in the scooter and believe it is ready for market launch. Years of development have gone into an outstanding vehicle that the market has been eagerly anticipating. This user friendly scooter provides the perfect balance between size and performance. There is no doubt in my mind that we’ve developed a world class vehicle which answers the demand for a high-quality, yet affordable mobility scooter.
Source: Afikim Electric Vehicles