Honda will spend $124 million to build a state-of-the-art, multifunctional acoustic wind tunnel in East Liberty, OH, on the grounds of the Honda-owned Transportation Research Center and close to the company’s U.S. manufacturing hub in nearby East Liberty.
The company said it will break ground on the new wind tunnel in summer 2017 but did not state a completion date.
The company said the new wind tunnel will feature an interchangeable belt system “capable of testing both production vehicles and racecars;” it will have a five-belt rolling-road system designed for the development of production vehicles and a second, single/wide belt system to test high-performance models and purpose-built race vehicles.
The new tunnel can generate wind speeds of up to 192 mph—and will feature four secure bays for confidential testing of vehicles by contracted customers.
"This innovative and industry leading asset provides us with another distinct reason for our customers to take advantage of the world-class testing facilities we have in Ohio at TRC," said Mark-Tami Hotta, president and CEO of the Transportation Research Center.
Honda said the new wind tunnel will be designed to “drive the next generation of wind-noise reduction by utilizing a strategic system of microphones and cameras set up to measure and identify potential noise issues on both the exterior and interior of a vehicle during the development stage.”
Frank Paluch, president of Honda R&D Americas, Inc., added, "This new facility will further enhance our ability to efficiently create products of the highest quality for our customers. It will be integral to our aerodynamic and aeroacoustic R&D activity, which spans from advanced research and computer simulation, through scale-model and full vehicle development, to production vehicle performance assurance. And all of this is being done right here in the U.S."
There should be plenty of room for the new facility at the Transportation Research Center, which encompasses 4500 acres that includes a 7.5-m (12-km) high-speed testing oval and R&D facilities for a variety of entities other than Honda.