In a move to satisfy consumer demands for higher fuel economy, Ford has announced it will invest $200 million into a new wind tunnel complex that will be used to make both its high-performance cars and consumer cars more aero-friendly, contributing to both advances in performance and fuel efficiency.
The complex, which starts construction later this year, will be situated next to Ford's Driveability Test Facility in Allen Park, Michigan, and will house more than just a standard wind tunnel. According to Ford, there will be a rolling road function to simulate real-world driving conditions to test for fuel efficiency—with wind speed varying between 150 and 200mph—and a climatic chamber to see how new cars behave in both extreme heat and cold situations. The climatic chamber can dip down to temperatures as low as negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit—which still isn't nearly as cold as Siberia gets—and can reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than Death Valley or the Sahara Desert. Built Ford tough is right.
Dave Pericak, global director of Ford Performance, said, "This new wind tunnel facility will not only allow us to test our performance and racing vehicle line-up but will also enable us to share innovations across all our global Ford products."
Wind tunnels may mostly be associated with developing only high-performance vehicles, but Ford is designing the wind tunnel complex to have "super-size" wind tunnel chambers to accommodate their larger vehicles, including their Super Duty trucks. Maybe don't expect Ford trucks of the future to have supercar-like low raked windshields and canards, but they almost certainly will cut through the air better if Ford has its way.