GM has announced its latest innovation in the ongoing effort to reduce fuel costs and improve design functionality. Using the automaker’s new reduced-scale wind tunnel, GM will have the ability to improve designs in an effort to enhance fuel efficiency in future vehicles.
The 35,000 square-foot facility allows engineers to simulate multiple driving conditions at up to 155 mph using clay models that can be up to 40% of the vehicle’s true size. This testing allows GM engineers to easily adjust the vehicle’s design for improved aerodynamics and to increase fuel efficiency before investing in a full-size model.
“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 in a statement. “We view the new $30 million reduced scale wind tunnel as an investment towards a better, more energy-efficient future.”
Additionally, GM will use 3D printing to measure how certain parts (like the engine and suspension) interact with the wind. Doing so is expected to lead to quieter GM vehicles in the future.