GM and Army open up new test facility on Yuma Proving Ground

GM Desert Proving Ground Yuma - Click above for an image gallery

General Motors and the U.S. Army have officially cut the ribbon opening the automaker's all-new Desert Proving Ground this week. Located just outside Yuma, Arizona, the testing facility is built on 2400 acres of leased government property. In addition to a 3.5-mile circuit track (three lanes) and a 1.4-mile straight track (two-to-three lanes), the proving ground includes a 1,000' x 1,000' dynamics pad, interior noise road, and a garage with 40 hoists. And, that is just a partial list of the niceties at this state-of-the-art complex.

According to GM's Ken Morris, executive director, Vehicle Integration, Proving Grounds and Performance Division:

"This new facility meets several of our important product development needs... We have a longer hot weather testing cycle, we have great partners with the Army and the city of Yuma, and we have a facility that will meet our needs in the years to come,"

No need to mention that the isolation – and restrictions – associated with an active military base that also serves to keep prying eyes and spy photographers from capturing the company's future models, right?. Check out the details in the press release after the jump.

[Source: General Motors]

GM Desert Proving Ground-Yuma Officially Open For Business

YUMA, AZ – General Motors and the U.S. Army officially opened GM's new test facility in the southwest on the Army's Yuma Proving Ground. The ceremony marked the end of most construction activity and the beginning of a cooperative arrangement hammered out 2 years ago. The agreement will provide GM with a suitable test facility following the closing of their long standing Mesa Proving Ground.

In the agreement GM has leased a portion of the Yuma Proving Ground from the government on which several test roads and support facilities have been built. Both the Army and GM will have access to road systems they currently did not have on their property. A win – win for both groups.

GM sold the Mesa Proving Ground when residential and commercial building encroached on their heretofore rural area. As property values increased the value of the land the Proving Ground was sitting on became more valuable for development than for testing. GM's rapid move from road testing to lab testing to using math based tools enabled the testing needs to be met with a much more modest size facility and limited test roads.

"This new facility meets several of our important product development needs," said Ken Morris, executive director, Vehicle Integration, Proving Grounds and Performance Division. "We have a longer hot weather testing cycle, we have great partners with the Army and the city of Yuma, and we have a facility that will meet our needs in the years to come."

The new facility will employ 75 engineers, technicians, and support staff, have 40 miles of roads, and cover 2400 acres of property on the Yuma site. The bulk of the work with be hot weather related testing, powertrain, ride and handling, and other vehicle development activities. Yuma has proved to be a perfect fit for GMs needs with a longer hot weather season than the Mesa area, relatively isolated and secure from photographers looking to get shots of the latest models being tested, and excellent support capabilities from the Yuma community.

The facility includes:

  • 3.5 mile Circle Track (3 lanes)
  • 1.4 mile Straight Track (2-3 lanes)
  • 3.1 mile Ride Road (2-4 lanes)
  • 1,000' X 1,000' Dynamics Pad
  • Interior Noise Road
  • Noise Pass-by Facility
  • Misc. Grades
  • 72,000 ft 2 Main Building
  • Garage (40 Hoists)
  • Office (120 Residents/Visitors)
  • Product Electronics/Instrumentation Lab
  • Alignment/Tire Facilities
  • Transmission Build Room
  • Machine/Fab Shop
  • Parts Crib
  • Warehouse 14,000 ft^2
  • Sundrella (40 hoists)
  • Covered Parking
  • Fuel Facility
  • Car Wash
  • Scale House / Ballast Station

About General Motors: General Motors Company, one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 235,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 34 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors Company acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors Company can be found at

General Motor Desert Proving Grounds Yuma Facts

  • Located on the US Army military proving ground and artillery range
  • 2400 acre site
  • 24 acre building campus
  • 98,000 sq/ft of building area
  • 12 miles of perimeter security fencing
  • 8 archeological sites
  • 330,000 tons of aggregate rock crushed onsite
  • 1.9 million cubic yards of excavate material
  • 87 lane miles of 12 ft test tracks & roads using ~110,000 tons of asphalt and 4,000 cubic yards of concrete
  • Waste water/fresh water treatment
  • 2 Water Storage Tanks – total 300,000 gallons using 49,000 bolts
  • 4 construction water wells at peak production - 1.5 million/gals per day with over 350 million gallons used in construction for pre-wetting and dust control.
  • 52,000 cubic yards of concrete placement for site
  • Almost 2,700 linear feet of concrete arch culverts were built using over 8,000 cubic yards of concrete.
  • Saguaro Cactus, wild burros, coyotes, wild bees & rattle snakes
  • Peak Manpower during construction 250 +
  • Over 450,000 man hours to complete the project
Yuma's Avg. Rainfall 3.25"; Summer Temp. 109/81 F; Winter Temp. 69/46 F

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