Car-maker Ford has announced the launch of the world’s first environmental test centre in Cologne Germany. The multi-million Euro facility will enable engineers to test vehicles in the most demanding weather conditions. It will be the most advanced automotive facility of its kind, and is due to be fully operational in 2017. The centre incorporates industry-first features such as high altitude testing and the ability to simulate heavy snow. It’s a step forward in simulating the most demanding environmental conditions around the globe at the push of a button.
With two wind tunnels, a high altitude lab and four temperature controlled test chambers, three of which will also facilitate humidity, the football pitch sized operation will enable engineers to work on up to nine different vehicles simultaneously. Engineers working at the centre will be able to use specialised soak rooms to expose vehicles to temperature extremes ranging from -40 to 55°c and 95 per cent humidity. They’ll be able to simulate everything from arctic snowstorms to thin mountain air.
Joe Bakaj, vice-president of product development for Ford of Europe, said: “With industry-first features, like the high altitude testing and the ability to simulate heavy snow, this new test facility offers a toolkit that will help us to continue to develop future best-in-class vehicles.
Ford will continue to use existing test facilities such as the Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium, and natural sites such as the US’s Mojave Desert, which is used for hot weather testing, and sites inside the Arctic Circle, where cold weather evaluation takes place. But, the new facility will bring the great benefit of a significant reduction in travel to far-reaching parts of the world.