Car manufacturers worldwide spend over $180 million annually to test their vehicles’ ABS braking systems in Arjeplog, Sweden. Manufacturers, like Land Rover, BMW, Continental, BorgWarner and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, each have their secure testing locations for other parts of their automobiles. When it comes to testing their ABS braking systems, they all head to this small town in Sweden with a permanent population of 1,800 residents.
Preparation for the testing begins in December when the ice starts forming on Hornavan lake. As soon as the snow falls, trucks remove it as it serves as an insulator so that ice will not form. Then, other vehicles are brought in to remove the snow continually. When the ice is about 11.8 inches thick, then trucks with snowblowers are used to create the tracks where the testing occurs. While the tracks are continuously maintained, actual testing does not begin until the ice is almost 23 inches thick.
$180 Million Boost to Local Economy
As the ice gets close to the right thickness, the town’s population swells to about 8,000 people. While many people check into area hotels, others choose to stay in private homes. These people who work for the car manufacturers will spend about $180 million before the testing season ends in the spring. That money trickles throughout the Swedish Lapland.
The conditions in Arjeplog, Sweden, are unique, making it possible to create flat tracks for testing. Bosch was the first company to discover the location when they watched seaplanes landing on the ice. Almost every car manufacturer has followed their lead because it is impossible to test ABS braking on inclines. These manufacturers need to ensure that the system will not cause the vehicle to fishtail or spin when the brakes are applied.