A look inside Ford’s extreme weather simulator
When you are driving your car, you may never think about all the hard work and testing that goes into its design before you sit behind the wheel. For example, automobiles undergo rigorous testing to guarantee that they remain functional and safe in any weather condition.
One such testing facility is Ford Europe’s state-of-the-art weather testing facility which ensures that its vehicles can withstand any weather they encounter.
The Environmental Test Center, which is about the size of a football pitch, can generate rain, snow, high speed winds up to 155 miles per hour, and glaring sunlight along with extreme cold and hot temperatures and high and low humidity.
To test a vehicle’s resilience to heat, the center has 28 spotlights with 4,000-watt bulbs that simulate the sun’s powerful rays. These are used in tests to see how fast the cabin can be cooled, how likely the engine is to overheat, and to see how extreme heat effects affects overall vehicle performance.
The testing facility also generates arctic snowstorms to see how quickly vehicles’ windshields defrost, how efficient the heating system is, and how their engines perform in extreme temperatures.
In terms of humidity, the center can take the center’s simulated atmosphere from 10 percent to 95 percent humidity. High humidity affects the performance of the AC system and the engine cooling system, so it is essential to ensure that the vehicles can withstand a range of humidity.
In addition, the engineers can make the center rain at the push of a button to check the vehicle’s visibility and wiper systems.
Engineers also test the vehicle’s performance in high altitude simulations to ensure that the automobile’s liquids do not burst their lines when working under high pressure.
In this testing facility, you can alter the weather to whatever you please at any point in time. If only we could change the actual weather whenever we wanted to…