Torrance-based American Honda Motor Co. Inc. opened a new wind tunnel in Ohio that can generate wind speeds of more than 190 miles per hour, and will be used for aerodynamics and aeroacoustics testing of passenger and racing vehicles.
Dubbed Honda Automotive Laboratories of Ohio, or HALO, the facility features a five-belt rolling road system designed for production vehicle development and a second single wide-belt system for testing both high-performance sports cars and race vehicles, according to the automaker.
HALO’s main fan measures 26.2 feet in diameter, and has 12 hollow carbon fiber fixed-pitch blades that are driven by a 5-megawatt, 6700 horsepower electric motor. The tunnel’s acoustic test system, comprised of more than 500 microphones and cameras, will be used to identify sources of wind noise that can be heard in the car’s cabin. This is particularly important when designing electric vehicles, where absence of engine and exhaust sounds makes wind noise more noticeable.
Honda invested $124 million to develop HALO, which is located on the Transportation Research Center Inc.’s 4,500-acre campus that features road courses, wooded trails, a 7.5-mile high-speed oval test track and a 50-acre vehicle dynamics area. The center conducts programs designed to test vehicles, trucks, buses, motorcycles and airplanes for safety, energy efficiency, fuel economy, emissions, durability, performance, noise and crash simulation.
“Honda’s product development capabilities will advance to new heights thanks to this investment in our Ohio research operations,” Jim Keller, executive vice president of Honda Development & Manufacturing of America, said in a statement. “With this new facility, Honda is not simply investing in an advanced technology facility but in the future of the Honda engineers and other researchers who will work here.”
The automaker sold nearly 1.5 million vehicles last year.