MECF_728x90_top

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
See more
See less

ME Developments, Mostly Hidden, That Have Been & Will Be Occurring

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • ME Developments, Mostly Hidden, That Have Been & Will Be Occurring

    To learn where we now are in the ME’s development process, we need to look back to the extremely-comparable, C7 development process.

    Parallel C7 Prior To Reveal, Developments

    Stepping back, the first of the mules for the C7, 15 of them, were produced starting in September, 2010 in Warren, Michigan; this was twenty-eight (28) months before the Stingray’s 1.13.13 reveal.

    The process of developing the next generation Corvette moved significantly forward during the C7 era. What worked especially well then, was a round-robin sharing of staff between the Warren, Michigan Corvette engineering/development team staff and Bowling Green Assembly staff. That process not only helped develop a much better car, but resulted in cost savings to GM – and thus to us customers. Here’s how that specifically worked. There is a team of individuals, located in the Detroit area, who are assigned to helped transition the car from concept to assembly reality. Their BGA counterparts comprised the second half of that team. The members of the team literally spend at least one week each month in the opposite location, so that at least several weeks every month, they work side by side in the next gen’s development.

    The first C7 IVERS (“Integrated Vehicle Engineering Release” vehicles) were built in September, 2011.

    As further described in the excellent book by “The Seventh Generation of America’s Sports Car: Corvette Stingray” (complete citation below), “the white parts are the prototype parts brought into the process to test their properly fitting and also provided necessary clearance for the assembly process.”* Thank you, with special credit to its author, Larry Edsall.

    Stage 1 IVERS also are still composed of parts from the current and next gen – though later Stage 2 IVERS contain mostly next gen parts. IVERS, in comparison to the earliest mules, in appearance more closely resemble what we have recently been from “in the wild” pictures, and minus its camo, will be what we see at its ME’s reveal. Component wise, an IVERS has pre-production parts. At least five of them will go to “the crusher” for testing. All ME IVERS to date are experimental models, have an X in their VIN, are not later sale-able. Separate IVERS are used not just for road testing, but for prototype assembly purposes, including such things are interior panels, fitting IP and HVAC components, NVH testing/refinement, handling/braking/acceleration and more.

    ME Mules/IVERS: Past Process & Current Status:

    A “mule” pre-dates an IVERS. It has a major amount of parts from the current generation Corvette, yet some next generation integration parts. It is basically initially-cobbled-together parts to start the testing process. Mules are used to initially verify the “proof of concept” of the next generation Corvette, yet also to initially test key/changed components.
    Here is one of the earliest known ME mules (picture taken in January, 2015).

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Jan 15 first ME mule.JPG Views:	3 Size:	411.8 KB ID:	1936

    Approximately two years later we first saw our first mid engine IVERS undergoing winter testing at Kapuskasing (GM’s winter testing facility).

    Click image for larger version  Name:	ABCAC102-12DF-4B2D-AD6C-78ABEEB0A0CC.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	228.0 KB ID:	33284

    The ME’s two-location, “development integration team” process has been going on for the ME for over a year now. Last year (roughly 2017), the Michigan team would go to BG for one week a month, then a couple of weeks later the BGA team would head to Michigan – also for one week. During the second year (this current year), the Warren, Michigan team and the BGA team are alternatively traveling most of the time, with each team member spending two weeks a month in the opposite location. What is especially relevant and useful about the development team’s work, is not just the preceding described process, but the composition of the BGA team. The BGA team is not composed of just management and engineers, but has key/representative assembly staff who will later be going to put the ME together on the line. Including “line workers” was part of the secret sauce for the C7’s development. The current ME integration team is similarly composed. Having worked my way through college on an auto assembly line during summers, it is the hands-on staff that put the car together, who often have the best ideas as to what will functionally work, conversely what will not, what can be done faster, but even more crucially, what can be done with less parts damage, and done better and safer!



    That same development integration team is currently working on the ME, with each team member from both locations, traveling two weeks every month, e.g., so every week or almost every week, the entire two-location team is together in one place.

    However, behind the scenes development of the 2020 ME has stepped up and changed lately. Where are we now in terms of 2020 mid engine IVERS?

    Over forty (40) ME IVERS have been produced so far inside Bowling Green Assembly Plant!
    For proof, here is # 20 (or is it # 30). I remember seeing #35, but cannot now find that picture now. Sorry.


    [IMG]file:///C:%5CUsers%5CJohn%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cmsoht mlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_image010.jpg[/IMG]
    But, where are the rest, especially as it has been so very quiet lately – with not a sighting in the last three weeks? Where are the rest?

    GM’s Milford Proving Grounds has 143 miles of test track. Almost all of it is hidden from even spy photographers’ super-long camera lens. There a 4,800 GM staff working there in 110 buildings.

    The Yuma GM test facility, over 2,000 square miles with 40 miles of roads, is located within a U.S. military base, and consequently is one large no-fly zone – so not even drones can see in there.

    Eight-five (85) IVERS were built for C7 development testing. In addition to the previously built 40 ME IVERS, way more will be built.
    Here is what a little birdie (who lives in Bowling Green), spent years inside BGA but not as a GM employee, whispered to me roughly two months ago. He said that on July13th (two day ago) and also onAugust 10th, the Plant was going to test assemble on those Fridays, when regular employees are not around (they are working 4/10’s, Mondays-through-Thursdays now), but when the roughly forty (40) person integration development team is additionally working. That person told me that this was when BGA was going to test assemble C7 and ME’s back to back (nose-to-tail) on the assembly line. Was that schedule correct? Or, was it modified in the last two months since he told me that? We do not know the answers to those two questions, but clearly at some point such back-to-back (nose to tail if you wish) C7/ME/C7/ME assembly on the line, has to tested.
    As the process continues, later phase II IVERS will later be assigned both to the top members of the Corvette team staff for daily use evaluation (we have all saw pictures of Harlan, Kai, and others driving the the C7 IVERS); others are obviously assigned to GM development testing drivers, and near the end of the process as was recently done this past year with the ZR1, even to contracted, outside test drivers (for example,those driven by Roush Engineering staff in Florida on Alligator Alley and other parts of Florida last year).

    Another thing could well happen at some point with the ME’s development, just asduring the later parts of the C7 development process in the months before its 1.13.13 reveal, was the progressive taking off its thick camo so proper/final aero testing can be started. However, is it not possible that is already happening in the middle of the night on public roads, and/or within Milford Proving Ground’s track, and/or within in the mega-vast Yuma, Arizona, GM/Army facility?
    Recently, for example, it was learned that within one of those locations, (protecting a source), that testing of the ME’s revised LT1 has been, and will continue to be taking place. Might there some testing of the upcoming 4.2L and/or 5.5L motors also be occurring now with existing IVERS?

    Lots more IVERS are yet to be built; and, tens and tens of thousands more of both real world and test site development is yet to be completed before we get our first ME’s – roughly 14 months from now.
    *Source of much of the C7 information in this thread is from an excellent book: “The Seventh Generation of America’s Sports Car,” by Larry Edsall, ISBN-13 978-0 7603-4384-5.
    Thank you Larry Edsall; we all hope you are similarly now writing a new book on what is happening right now behind the scenes on the ME’s progression – so after the reveal, we could enjoy it too!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by John; 04-20-2019, 12:52 AM.
    GBA Black; HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5VM visible carbon fiber package; 5ZZ high wing; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards; RCC Edge Red engine cover; VJR illuminated sill plates. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 23 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

  • #2
    John, That is some awesome information there. It is a lot to think about for sure. But, I think GM won't bring something to the table without all the R&D like you explained above. EXCELLENT post.

    THANK YOU !!
    Regards Brian

    Comment


    • #3
      Click image for larger version

Name:	
Views:	0
Size:	477.1 KB
ID:	1957 Very interesting how the process plays out. Will have to Visit Orlando Speedway a little more often as Roush Staff Frequent. Thanks John and Larry. I wonder if Callaway has a hand in the ME as well ?
      Last edited by Frenzy36; 07-16-2018, 03:01 AM.
      Rocket City Florida

      Comment

      MECF_728x90_bottom

      Collapse
      Working...
      X