In Sindelfingen, Mercedes-Benz inaugurated two climatic wind tunnels, which it will use to simulate extreme weather conditions for testing its cars. Following two years of construction, the two facilities will narrow the gap between simulations and real-life testing. The climatic wind tunnel is capable of producing temperatures of minus 40 to plus 60 degrees Celsius, hurricane-force winds of up to 265 km/h, heavy snowstorms and monsoon-like rain. The two tunnels perform separate functions, with one designated as the cold tunnel and the other one the hot tunnel, which can still generate temperatures of minus 10 to plus 60 C. Both tunnels are equipped with twin-axle roller dynamometers that allows speeds of up to 265 km/h.
Says Ulrich Mellinghoff, Head of Mercedes Safety Development, “We don’t want to use the new climatic wind tunnels as a substitute for road testing, but we can now do less of it and are also far better prepared when we do go out. For example, if we have 20 different engine heat shields, we can already eliminate many of them in the climatic wind tunnel because they don’t have the desired effect.”