FCA US is using an all-new 4×4 dynamometer (dyno) at its Chrysler Technology Center (CTC), in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA, to bring another capability in-house. The existing drive cell that houses the new dyno can be chilled to -40ºC and create wind speeds up to 100mph. Testing is done in blizzard-like conditions to evaluate, among other things, how a vehicle performs when dense snow clogs its air intakes.
FCA US (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) invested US$2.5m to upgrade the existing climatic test cell. The upgraded drive cell consists of a new front dyno that can handle loads of up to 350hp with a rear dyno operating up to 650hp. The cell also received a significant upgrade in ductwork and exhaust capabilities to accommodate high-output engines such as the 2016 Ram 2500’s 6.7-liter Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel with 1,220Nm of torque.
“Our world-class environmental test center provides dynamic and static testing conditions to simulate the climatic environments that are experienced by our customers around the world,” said John Nigro, vice president of product development, FCA-North America. “With more 4×4 and all-wheel-drive vehicles in our fleet than ever, this investment will go a long way to providing the durable cars and trucks our customers expect from us.”
FCA’s Climatic Test Facilities are used to simulate and control environmental conditions. According to the OEM, the climatic cells are capable of simulating “the most frigid conditions in mid-winter to the extreme heat of the Gulf Coast countries”.
The extreme climate test is one of thousands performed daily at CTC, located at the FCA US headquarters. CTC’s 5,400,000ft2 of floor space makes it the largest headquarters of any kind in North America, except for the Pentagon.
Its aerodynamics testing facility generates the highest wind speeds (160+ mph) of any domestic OEM’s wind tunnel. Its 129 dynamometer cells run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The CTC facility has been running 24/7 since it opened in 1991 with its current employment numbers (14,000+) representing its historic peak.
August 7, 2015