From arctic frost to desert heat to rainforest humidity, the new +Ford Europe “Weather Factory” will simulate a huge range of demanding conditions.
When built later next year, the multi-million euro facility will be the first to simulate altitudes of 5,200 metres – higher than Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps. It will also offer extremes of -40°C to +55° C, as well as 95 per cent humidity.
The centre will enable engineers to work on up to nine different vehicles simultaneously, testing comfort, safety and operational capabilities, including electrical performance, braking, air conditioning, and pulling heavy loads.
Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe.
“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. This is a significant step forward that will mean we can efficiently simulate the most demanding environmental conditions around the globe under repeatable conditions.”+Ford Europe's other test centers include Lommel Proving Ground, in Belgium, home to a specific pothole-testing track, side-wind tests, and saltwater and mud baths. Vehicles are regularly subjected to as much as 5.5 million km of punishing real-world durability testing, which can include locations as demanding as the Mojave Desert, in the U.S.; the Arctic Circle; and the Grossglockner High Alpine Pass, in Austria.