Long before new vehicles roll off of delivery trucks at your local Ford dealership in Mooresville and elsewhere, they have been put through the paces at Ford’s Drivability Test Facility, which features a wide range of tests including a wind tunnel.
However, as vehicles have evolved and technologies advanced, Ford wants to build a new vehicle testing facility, which can also accommodate larger vehicles in the Ford product lineup.
The new test facility will break ground later this year and take two years to complete, during which time Ford will continue to use its existing testing complex. The new facility is being built essentially “next-door” to the current one and will cover 13 acres once fully constructed.
The Drivability Test Facility will continue to remain operational while the new complex is built, and potentially after, as Ford has not indicated it was shuttering the facility but could possibly modernize it and use it exclusively for several of its smaller class vehicles in the future.
The new complex will feature a new and larger wind tunnel able to produce wind speeds up to 200 miles per hour! The wind tunnel test helps determine drag and other resistance which affects fuel efficiencies. In addition, high-speed wind tests help Ford identify at what wind speeds vehicles could experience damage.
The complex will also include a five-belt real-life road simulator where each belt can be controlled separately. Each tire on the vehicle will have its own belt, and the fifth belt will be used underneath vehicles down its center. The belts can provide adjustable rates of speeds, also up to 200 miles per hour. The belt system will be incorporated into the wind tunnel design and further help Ford improve aerodynamics, fuel efficiencies, and conduct other simulated road tests on its vehicles.
Why Build a New Test Facility?
Part of the reason Ford decided to build a new test facility is because technologies in recent years have emerged allowing for more detailed tests. For instance, one of the new tests possible at the new complex is a climate chamber test where temperatures can be produced from as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit below zero to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
With changes to the environment and weather patterns over the past few decades, the ability of vehicles to withstand a wide temperature range and still function will be something Ford researchers and designers will continue to evaluate in the coming years.
Furthermore, the new complex will not only allow Ford to test all of its current and concept vehicles at the facility, including large-framed SUVs and trucks, but also Ford racing vehicles. The news about the new facility also coincides with Ford’s other recent announcement to invest $1 billion into artificial intelligence for its first-ever self-driving vehicle.
For all the latest news about Ford vehicles or to check out Ford’s current lineup, stop on by Community Ford or call us at 317-831-2750 today!