INEOS Automotive has completed the next phase of dynamic testing for the Grenadier, following a punishing examination of its off-road capabilities on one of the most formidable 4X4 testing grounds in the world. The latest-generation Grenadier prototypes were approved by INEOS Chairman, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, after negotiating the notorious trails of the Schöckl mountain near Magna Steyr’s HQ in Austria, as part of an engineering gateway assessment.
“We’ve made great strides since the very early versions of the Grenadier I drove a year ago,” said Sir Jim. “The Schöckl is a proper challenge for any 4X4. Today was a real test for our prototypes, and they came through very well. There is still work to do, but I am confident that the Grenadier will do the job we have developed it for.”
Renowned for their unforgiving and destructive hard-rock terrain, the Austrian mountains have been used for decades by Magna Steyr, INEOS’s engineering partner, as the ultimate test of off-road capability and durability for special purpose vehicles.
The intensification of the Grenadier’s testing programme, which will see more than 130 second-phase prototypes accumulate 1.8 million kilometres in extreme environments around the world, follows unavoidable delays through 2020. To achieve its rigorous testing targets, INEOS has revised its project timings and pushed back the start of Grenadier production.
Dirk Heilmann, CEO of INEOS Automotive, said: “Reaching this important development milestone is a great step forward for the project. We only have one opportunity to get this right and our quality and performance targets for the Grenadier remain paramount. We won’t cut corners. After today’s very positive results we are on track to reach our targets and to allow the start of production in July next year at the latest.”
Earlier this year, engineers successfully completed extensive cold weather engine calibration with Grenadier prototypes in northern Sweden. The next phase of the development and validation process will subject the Grenadier to intense hot weather testing in some of the world’s harshest environments, including Death Valley in the USA and the dunes of the Middle East.