A climatic wind tunnel is pretty much what it sounds like. It allows car manufacturers to simulate a wide range of environmental conditions including the full solar spectrum, humidity control, hot road simulation, even snow generation all under a wide range of wind speeds. In other words, you can replicate any climate, anywhere in the world, and see how your car (or its systems) will perform in those climates.
Why Did Porsche Buy It?
With yesterday's announcement that Porsche has acquired a climatic wind tunnel (CWT) in Filderstadt-Bonlanden (in the German District of Esslingen) from Modine Europe GmbH, Porsche has augmented their already robust development capabilities in the Stuttgart area. This particular CWT is specifically designed for cooling, climate control, safety and emissions systems testing. While CWTs won't replace real world road testing, they do greatly compress the time for development and validation of various system such as (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning), powertrain cooling, snow packing/ingestion testing, climatic exhaust emissions, defrost/demist testing, hot fuel handling, cold start and driveability and a whole range of general environmental testing.
About The Facility
This facility, which was built in Filderstadt-Bonlanden by Modine Europe GmbH in 2004, houses state-of-the-art equipment and is suitable for both sports cars and heavy utility vehicles. As Porsche had been making regular use of this particular CWT over the past few years, and given how close it is to their new facilities, they decided to purchase the tunnel as part of their ongoing investment package designed to future-proof its development site. The facility will continue to be made available for development projects to other vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers via the Porsche Engineering Group subsidiary.
Over the coming years Porsche will be investing well over a billion euros in construction projects in Germany in order to secure their current successful growth trajectory. Among other things this includes 95 million euros for a new engine testing facility at the Weissach site and the expansion of the Leipzig plant for the planned full production of the Panamera, which will require an investment volume of around 500 million euros. A new training centre, engine plant, office and supply buildings as well as a new bodywork production facility are under construction in Zuffenhausen at a total cost in excess of 600 million euros. A further 25 million euros will be invested at the multi-brand production site in Osnabrück for the future assembly of Porsche Cayenne subsystems.
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