GM’s tiny wind tunnel is almost done image

General Motors has made a 30-million-dollar investment into a reduced scale wind tunnel that is intended to improve car’s aerodynamics and fuel consumption.

The GM’s new wind tunnel is almost ready to be put into operation. The company has made a 30-million-dollar investment in their Technical Centre in Warren, Michigan, so it would be able to test scale models. A major role in car’s fuel efficiency is being played by its aerodynamics. Thus, General Motors is taking all the measures to be certain that it would be able to meet the future tougher regulations regarding fuel economy and emissions. Furthermore, GM is also intending to modernize its full-size wind tunnel, the reconstruction being planned to start next year. “The combined capabilities of our new reduced-scale and full-scale wind tunnels allow us to reach industry-leading levels of aerodynamic refinement,” said Ken Morris, vice president, GM Global Product Integrity.

GM’s reduced scale wind tunnel tests the drag efficiency of clay models up to 40 percent of the scale of a full-size car. It is equipped with a rolling road system that simulates real world driving conditions up to a speed of 155 mph, allowing engineers to reduce wind drag. Advanced 3D printing machines create underbodies and engine blocks that are detailed and to scale for the reduced sized clay models. Working suspensions with spinning wheels allow aerodynamic engineers to better examine how airflow affects a vehicle’s underbody while in motion, resulting in quieter cars and trucks that can cost customers less to operate.

GM’s global director of carbon dioxide strategy, Scott Miller, said finding ways to reduce the wind resistance and air turbulence is one of the most effective ways to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. Every 12 “count” improvement in the coefficient of drag results in 1 mpg improvement in fuel economy, Miller noted.