Ford’s New $200M Testing Facility Isn’t Your Average Wind Tunnel


Between customers looking to save money at the pump, and stringent fuel economy requirements, manufacturers are under immense pressure to make their cars as efficient as possible. In doing so, they are focusing heavily on vehicle aerodynamics.

Ford proved just how important aero currently is in the automotive industry Wednesday, when it announced plans to build a new $200 million wind tunnel complex. The facility will be located next to the company’s Driveability Test Facility in Allen Park, Mich., and will include a variety of advanced testing equipment.

“This investment in new world-class test facilities underpins Ford’s ongoing commitment to advance our capabilities to continue to provide our customers with high-quality vehicles,” Raj Nair, Ford’s executive vice president of global product development, said in a statement.

Within the 13-acre facility, there will be a rolling road wind tunnel, which uses a conveyor belt to simulate the aerodynamic effect of a car driving along pavement. Unlike traditional rolling road tunnels that solely use a single belt, Ford’s reportedly can be converted to use one belt per wheel, as well as a central one that runs underneath the vehicle. This better replicates real-world levels of drag.

The complex also will have a climatic chamber that can subject cars to temperatures of minus 40-degrees Fahrenheit, as high as 120-degrees Fahrenheit or anything in between.

Ford said it expects construction on the wind tunnel complex to begin at some point this year.

Thumbnail photo via Ford 

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