As cars have evolved, so have the things that drivers look for in a new vehicle. A 2012 Consumer Reports survey found that fuel economy was the most important factor to car shoppers, ahead of quality, safety, performance, and design. America’s infatuation with MPG seems natural now (who likes spending more money?) but would have been almost unimaginable prior to the oil embargo of the 1970s.
If you’ve read any new vehicle reviews in the last few years, you probably know that there’s a new consideration near the top of car shoppers’ lists: cabin quietness.
Whether it’s because of America’s rapidly-crumbling infrastructure or advances in carmakers’ ability to make quiet vehicles (or, possibly, a combination of the two,) car buyers are putting cabin noise on their wish list more than ever before. Carmakers are taking steps to satisfy consumers’ concerns desire for quiet cars, but none have matched the ingenuity of Ford’s new fully-mobile aeroacoustic wind tunnel.
High-tech wind tunnels are standard fare in the car industry, but as they tend to cost in the neighborhood of $50 million, companies can’t really afford to have an office-building-sized wind tunnel at every factory, and testing time at existing wind tunnels is incredibly precious.
Enter Ford’s mobile wind tunnel, which costs a fraction of the price, takes up a fraction of the space (3 shipping containers,) and, most importantly, can be taken directly to the facilities where Ford engineers are refining vehicles. The ability to have the men and women responsible for a vehicle’s design present makes for a more efficient, more accurate process.
We love loud engines. We love the sound of the wind whooshing past us. Occasionally, in a safe, uninhabited setting, we even love the sound of squealing tires. But no-one loves the sound of bumpy, uneven roads. Which is just another reason why we love Ford Motor Company.