This is a very secure and secretive facilility and we were honored to be there. The Long Haulers got to take a driving tour of the Proving Grounds and to drive our own cars on many of the test tracks.
Let GM describe the facility to you:
Milford Proving Grounds
The General Motors Milford Proving Ground (MPG) is the headquarters for GM’s vehicle durability and test operations. Since the facility’s inception in 1924, the Proving Ground’s mission has remained unchanged which is to develop General Motors cars and trucks to meet the demands of both our customers and the environment in a competitive marketplace.
The Proving Ground was inaugurated in 1924 through the foresight of Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., President of General Motors. The General Motors' Technical Committee voted to spend $300,000 to turn 1,125 acres of farmland outside of Milford into vehicle testing roadways and facilities. Prior to this time, all road tests were done on public highways.
Today, the Proving Ground site has grown to nearly 4,000 acres, across both Livingston and Oakland counties, and employees nearly 5,000 people.
Over the past eighty plus years, vehicles have become increasingly more complex which has also changed the type and amount of testing performed at the Proving Ground. GM performs vehicle tests for safety, compatibility with the environment, ease and comfort of operation, reliability, durability and efficiency. As the challenges of the 21st century emerge, testing will become more exacting and rigorous. These tests hold specific significance for the performance variant vehicles that are developed by GM Performance Division. Having the ability to actualize the various high-performance vehicles in a variety of controlled environments, has placed GM at the forefront of performance technology.
The Proving Grounds' primary focus has gradually shifted from road testing to lab testing and supports the move to computer math simulation to reduce hardware testing and builds. However, the final vehicle validation is actually to measure the performance of vehicles, and the only way to accomplish this is through durability road testing and test analyst interface. The Proving Ground logs more than 12 million test miles per year.
FACTS ABOUT THE MILFORD PROVING GROUND
| LAND AREA |
RESIDENT DIVISIONS / STAFFS
NUMBER OF BUILDINGS
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
THREE LAKES ON PROPERTY
MILES DRIVEN ANNUALLY
1 billion miles driven - September 1994
GASOLINE USED ANNUALLY
GALLONS OF ROAD STRIPING PAINT USED
VEHICLE DYNAMICS TEST AREA
Nicknamed "Black Lake"
OVAL TEST TRACK
CIRCULAR TEST TRACK
EAST / WEST STRAIGHTAWAY
FULL SCALE BARRIER TESTS
HYGE SLED TESTS
COMPONENT TEST LAB
| Approximately 4,000 acres|
Serves over 1,000 meals per day
Sloan, Mott and Pickett
Equivalent to over 132 miles of two-lane highway
16,550 gal. of white and yellow paint
35,000 lbs. of reflecting beads
approximately the equivalent of 59 football fields
3.104 miles (including loops)
1.204 miles each way (level)
600 per year
1,500 per year
4,400 tests run annually on various parts of GM vehicles