NVH performance is the result of pre-development design and post-production debugging. Sound quality needs to be designed into the product at an early stage. Today’s consumers are more individualistic, they demand products which are more personal and high quality. Taking the users requirements into account, Geely is making products which are more personal with high-quality NVH performance baked into their DNA from the outset. The ultimate aim is to give users the most satisfying complete sensory experience.
The 2019 C-ECAP (China Eco-Car Assessment Program) was considered the most stringent vehicle assessment test in China to date, now not only would it look at and examine a vehicles performance in a car crash scenario, it would also begin to evaluate a vehicle’s ecological design.
This new, beefed up program, assesses the entire car and looks over in-vehicle air quality, noise, materials used, combined fuel consumption, exhaust emissions, end of life recyclability, whole lifecycle greenhouse emissions, and component lifecycle. Only 1% of vehicles put forward can receive a high passing score.
In the recent test, Geely’s first MPV Jia Ji scored 101.24 out of 105 points, including a perfect score for interior noise quality. The Jia Ji MPV become the highest scoring model in the 2019 C-ECAP and only one to receive a platinum certification for eco-friendliness.
Jiaji’s benchmark setting score is the result of Geely’s affirmation for creating the ultimate experience for users. When developing the Jia Ji, Geely engineers paid meticulous attention to NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness) and environment friendliness with the aim of keeping external noises to a maximum of 38.1 decibel at idle. To do so, engineers installing 150 noise reduction elements throughout the vehicle. The Jiaji is also the only MPV on the market to date with ANC active noise reduction technology.
The ‘new car smell’ that is often adorned by Western consumers is actually detested by Chinese consumers whom are extremely sensitive to odors in car interiors given off by volatile chemicals that are often proven to be harmful to your health. Geely always pushes to use environmentally friendly odorless materials in its car and has also installed Air Quality Systems to manage vehicle air quality.
The person behind of all these technological breakthroughs is none other than Gu Pengyun, the head of Geely Research Institute’s vehicle engineering center – he makes sure the NVH levels are smooth enough to let a baby sleep soundly.
After receiving his Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Gu Pengyun went on to work in American automotive giant Ford for 14 years working on their own NVH research and development. He then joined Tesla to help form their NVH team which presented a new challenge, removing road noise from electric cars where there isn’t an engine to provide ambient noise. In 2013, Gu Pengyun jumped over to Geely as the company was transitioning towards developing a new era of cars, cars that would help to redefine the brand.
“At the time, China’s automotive industry was entering a period of rapid development, but independent brands like Geely were still in their infancy and needed improvement. I realized that the knowledge and experience I’ve accumulated in America could make a crucial difference. My friends told me about a up and coming privately-owned brand, Geely which had much potential, but lacked experienced experts. My relationship with Geely began there.”
In 2013, after discussing and receiving support from his family, Gu Pengyun returned to China to join Geely. At the time, knowledge of NVH was still lacking within the Chinese automotive industry with a big gap in quality between Chinese brands and established global players.
The NVH characteristics define a manufacturer’s capability, it is a comprehensive indicator of quality in automotive manufacturing, a reflection of a car’s quality, and has a direct connection to the passenger’s experience of comfort. However measuring NVH performance is extremely difficult because it’s subjective to each user’s feelings. This “metaphysical” nature of NVH performance also makes R&D extremely difficult.
Achieving high-quality NVH performance requires a high-quality professional research team. For Gu Pengyun, this was the first problem he had to overcome in Geely. Realistically in the world, there are less than 50 people who can be called true experts in NVH development and even less in China in 2013-2014. For the first six months, Gu Pengyun searched for experienced NVH researchers to no avail. In the end, he decided to do what Geely has always done in this situation, cultivate talent internally. Instead of focusing on finding the rare experienced researcher, he looked for people with high potential and cultivated them personally, training them on the positive aspects that consumers look for in vehicles. Even today, Gu Pengyun personally teaches young engineers what he has learned in NVH research over two decades.
Gu Pengyun believes that improving NVH performance comes in three stages.
The first is reducing the noise and vibration of the whole vehicle to a minimum. This is the basics.
The second is achieving a certain level of sound quality. NVH performance is not just eliminating all sounds, certain characteristics are desirable. For example, powerful and pleasing engine sound is desirable for sports orientated models, but in luxury vehicles quietness and tranquility are preferred.
The third stage builds upon the second and aims to integrate specific NVH qualities into the DNA of different vehicles customized according to the models positioning and desired user experience.
In six years, under the leadership of Gu Pengyun, Geely’s NVH research team has grown from 50 engineers to over 300. The company has already mastered the first stage of reducing undesired NVH elements to the minimal and is well into the second stage of ensuring high quality sound. Currently Geely has received platinum C-ECAP certification for most of its line-up including the best-selling New Emgrand, Emgrand GL, its flagship Bo Rui GE, Bin Rui compact sedan, Jia Ji MPV and other 3.0 era models.
To reach the third stage of integrating desirable NVH qualities into the vehicle’s DNA, Geely has been developing a whole new generation of advanced vehicle architectures with NVH in mind from the very beginning. The CMA Compact Modular Architecture is one example of this.
The importance of NVH to Geely can be seen in their investment of a NVH laboratory at the Geely Research Institute. The NVH lab is the only one in China with a dedicated abnormal noise and vibration testing room with sound isolation and environmental controls. The lab can conduct road simulation tests in various simulated environments, evaluate the structural durability of the whole vehicle, and accurately identify abnormal noise from anywhere in the vehicle.
For NVH testing, road simulation in closed room is preferred to outdoor road testing because results can easily be replicated in a controlled environment, however technical and space requirements are immense, making this kind of lab uncommon in the industry. This cutting-edge NVH R&D technology has become a secret weapon for Geely and the results can already be seen through the company’s multiple platinum C-ECAP certifications.
As cars transform from being merely a means of transportation to a third living space, the user demands for interior environment becomes stricter. Gu Pengyun has helped to bring Geely to a new level and redefined the concept of NVH in the industry to not only include noise and vibration reduction, but also cabin air quality and comprehensive sensory experience.
In 2018, Geely Auto Group released their iNTEC suite of technologies which includes G-Blue, Geely’s focus on eco-friendly technologies. Geely Auto Group has obtained quite a number of patents for new technologies in the field of environment friendly materials, ecological designs, odor management systems, and intelligent air quality management systems.
“NVH performance is the result of pre-development design and post-production debugging. Sound quality needs to be designed into the product at an early stage. Today’s consumers are more individualistic, they demand products which are more personal and high quality. Taking the users requirements into account, Geely is making products which are more personal with high-quality NVH performance baked into their DNA from the outset. The ultimate aim is to give users the most satisfying complete sensory experience.? To do that, we must think about how to utilize big data, intelligent technologies, and AI to build better, smarter NVH development systems.”