Initially the tests are conducted virtually in a computer, followed by a variety of laboratory tests. Once the new truck has reached a final phase in its development that driveable prototype is available, it is subjected to tough physical tests.
"Here at Hällered we carry out two different test programmes," stated Patrik Lessmark, Complete Vehicle project manager for the FMX project. "We carry out both reliability and lifecycle tests at high speed, something that in our Volvo jargon is known as the AET or Accelerated Endurance Test," he explains.
The lifecycle tests consist of six to eight months of round-the-clock driving. On the other hand, the reliability tests consists of driving without stop for 16 weeks, after the truck was put to a test regime that corresponds to a full year's operation under normal conditions.
Since it was built specifically for heavy duty construction activities, the Volvo FMX has been subjected to particularly large amounts of dust, gravel, sticky mud and water. Testing also included driving while hauling a full load - 26 tonnes of crushed rock - on the special construction test track at Hällered that puts a large amount of pressure on the truck's frame and suspension system.
The team was extremely pleased with how the new truck passed the testing program.
"Without a doubt," confirms Patrik Lessmark. "The new truck is based on a tried and tested design but the Volvo FMX has nonetheless surpassed our expectations in several respects. The test drivers were particularly appreciative of the comfort, and the truck's driveability on poor surfaces is fantastic, not least thanks to the new software package for the I-Shift transmission.”