Klaus drives: on the ice with a rally champion
Skoda CEO Klaus Zellmer decided to test out the Skoda Enyaq RS iV and Kodiaq RS on the ice and snow of northern Sweden. When exploring the qualities of these Skoda 4x4s he was accompanied and mentored by rally champion Emil Lindholm.
On a frozen lake in Sweden, Klaus Zellmer begins his lesson behind the wheel of the Enyaq RS iV with some neat drifting, a technique the car’s low centre of gravity is ideal for. Zellmer appreciates the effective handling that comes from having an electric motor on each axle, while Emil Lindholm gives him tips on how to master driving on ice.
After that the pair switch to the Kodiaq RS SUV. This car offers a surprisingly fun driving experience, thanks to its inter-axle clutch and modes for driving in the snow and off tarmacked roads. We’re left in no doubt about the Kodiaq’s versatility, as it can not only deal with a variety of surfaces but even tow a trailer weighing up to 2,500 kilograms. No wonder it’s Skoda's best-selling all-wheel drive car.
Finally, when Klaus Zellmer needs to get to the airport at the end of the day, there’s another Skoda all-wheel drive vehicle waiting for him.
The hard life of crash test dummies
While computer simulation tools are playing an increasingly important role in new car development, crash tests aren’t on the way out. That is why Skoda has its own extensive crash laboratory, where it tests the safety of cars in practice and under strictly defined conditions on an almost daily basis (up to 300 crash tests are carried out here per year).
In addition to obstacles, lights, cameras and lots of different sensors, crash test dummies are an essential actor in car safety testing. And the fact that crash tests are becoming more and more stringent and demanding is evidenced, among other things, by the fact that the number of types of crash dummies used by Skoda is on the rise. While only a few types of dummies were previously required, the Czech carmaker now uses at least twelve. There are eight types of adult passenger dummies alone. And then there are child dummies, representing children aged 1.5, 3, 6 and 10.
Something new all the time
Each dummy is then fitted with dozens of sensors that measure acceleration, forces and deformation. Moreover, all this technology is constantly evolving. While the 50% male dummy (Hybrid III) used at the turn of the millennium allowed measurements at 56 points on the body, the current THOR dummy has 116 measurement locations. Similarly, the EuroSID2 dummy with 57 measuring points used to be widely used for side impact testing, but today it is getting squeezed out by the WorldSID dummy with 94 measuring locations. WorldSID also has a significantly better similarity to the human body, rated at 7.6/10, compared to 4.6/10 for the older dummy.
In addition to greater human similarity and a greater number of sensors, new types of dummies appear in the tests from time to time. “Work is currently taking place on Thor and WorldSID dummies that will represent 5% women. Another trend in dummies is towards reflecting the more advanced age of car occupants,” Domkář says, pointing out where innovations in this area can be expected.
Into the freezing water with the iceman
“When I’m in cold water, I am myself. I’m focused entirely on my body and mind. You forget everything else. It’s something that has completely changed my life,” says the 46-year-old Austrian who knows just about all there is to know about ice-cold water. More than 5,000 amateur ice swimmers have passed through his hands. In fact, swimming in cold water is a highly community-based activity. For the groups of hardy people it’s not just a healthy activity – it’s a social experience. Watch this video to see what a gathering of people who want to dive into a frozen lake in Austria looks like.
Josef Köberl immerses himself in icy water as often as he can – sometimes every day, sometimes every other day, but sometimes even three to six times a day. “These are moments of total freedom from all thoughts, problems and concerns. When you concentrate on how the cold affects you, it’s both disarming and uplifting. Moments of pure bliss,” he says.
Those are the mental benefits of toughening yourself up through exposure to cold. But there are also many benefits for the body: skin health improves and the cold has a positive effect on high blood pressure and overall physical condition. The activity clearly makes people tougher. The effect on mood is unquestionable – this is due to hormones that ensure that the body does not perceive the cold as a source of discomfort after a period of training. Dopamine levels, for example, can be up to two and a half times higher than normal after an ice treatment.