Why you never want to work at Kia's desert test site

Kia desert testing

Car manufacturers go to great lengths to test the durability of the vehicles you drive around on a daily basis before they go into production.> But we can guarantee you that you absolutely, most definitely do not want to work at Kia's secret test site in the Mohave Desert where they test their cars to destruction.

AOL Cars was shown around the Californian site last week and although what the team of 60 staff do is mighty impressive, we quickly came to the conclusion that we categorically do not want to work there. Here's why...

The killer snakes

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The California Proving Ground is home to two types of deadly snake: The Mohave Green and Sidewinder. The former is said to be the most debilitating and potentially deadly of all North American snakes, while the second probably won't kill you but if it bites you medical attention is advised urgently. Kia has a helicopter on standby in case of "snake-human interfaces". We're up for testing cars, but snake bites? Not so much.

It's hotter than the sun

Kia in the desert

Ok, that's a little bit of a lie, but it certainly felt like it. Temperatures topped 100F (38C) while we were there, but in the summer months the mercury regularly blasts past 110F (43.5C). That's more than enough to give you an all-over Dale Winton tan. Kia has to legally provide each of its workers with two GALLONS of water a day each to keep them hydrated. With an average 300 days of sunshine a year, the chances of a break from the heat is unlikely, though a T-shirt tan is pretty much guaranteed.

There are spies everywhere

Kia in testing

Part of the reason the 4,300-acre Kia test site was built in the middle of the desert was to prevent prying eyes from rival manufacturers spotting what the Korean firm was up to. The desert location, next door to the Edwards Air Force Base, means a no-fly zone above the site is in force, stopping pesky competitor company jets detouring on their way to LA. The perimeter of the huge test site is patrolled regularly too. Site boss Matt Seare said: "Rivals didn't used to care what we're up to, but they do now."

They drive on the worst roads in the world

Kia testing facility

If you thought your local back road was bad enough with the odd pothole, we can guarantee it's got nothing on Kia's test site. Its engineers have scoured the world to build 75 miles of the WORST surfaces to drive a car on – all so they know it won't break when you batter your showroom-fresh model over them everyday. From cobbled streets to speed bumps as far as the eye can see, these roads are designed to kill cars. And we all hate speed bumps.

Kia's Mohave test site
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Why you never want to work at Kia's desert test site

You might have to do some gardening...

Kia and a Joshua tree

Ok, so the engineers might spend most of their time breaking Kia's models in the name of testing, but the firm also takes its environmental responsibilities seriously too. So if that means relocating one (read that as hundreds) of the famous Mohave Desert Joshua Trees then so be it. Grab a spade! Kia even spent $3.5m on rehoming 27 tortoises found on the site – which worked out at nearly a whopping $130,000 per reptile. So Kia's engineers are less Stig, more David Attenborough.

They cook car parts for a living

Kia takes its durability testing very seriously indeed. Not only does the California Proving Ground subject cars to horrendous road surfaces and hideous conditions, but clever weathering droids focus the sun's rays on car parts continuously to see how they fare under high levels of UV radiation. Engineers are not allowed to use them to "get rid of the T-shirt tans".
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