New complex focuses on improving aerodynamics design from the B-segment Fiesta to the latest GT race car. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Mar. 1, 2017 Fuel economy is always near the top of an automobile purchasers wish list and Ford is investing hundreds of millions of USD to keep their next new products competitive in that regard. Ford’s new aerodynamic testing complex incorporates a next-generation rolling road wind tunnel and state-of-the-art climatic chamber. The new facility will come complete with testing advancements that better match the technological development of Ford products – both production vehicles and racing vehicles. According to the release, the new wind tunnel complex will sit on 13 acres next to Ford’s current Driveability Test Facility in Allen Park, Michigan. The complex will house new innovative technology that delivers state-of-the-art real-world driving simulations to advance improvements in fuel economy. Ford’s new wind tunnel complex better positions its engineers to conduct testing that proves out advancements in vehicle design. A new five-belt conveyor system can replicate real-world drag through a rolling road aerodynamic tunnel that enables Ford to bring the road to the vehicle, rather than the vehicle to the road. To test for optimal fuel efficiency, each wheel gets its own belt. The massive fifth belt runs under the center of the vehicle, allowing airflow around the entire vehicle at speeds up to 155 mph. As a part of the rolling road belt cartridge system, a crane will be used to switch between the five belt and single belt systems – an industrial-sized plug-and-play approach bringing two testing methods into one. The single belt operates at speeds up to 200 mph. The wind tunnel is capable of producing a full environmental airflow simulation, with speeds from 155 mph to 200 mph. This expanded air-flow will enable engineers to validate vehicle designs at a higher quality and repeatability. This strengthens testing for aerodynamic shielding, high-speed performance and other design features. The climatic chamber can get as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, colder than the Arctic, and as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than the Sahara. To accommodate large-frame vehicles, including Super Duty trucks, the new aerodynamic complex will “super-size” wind tunnel chambers.