Fiat Chrysler has installed a new dyno and drive cell at its US headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, capable of testing high output engines and also replicating blizzard-like 40 below zero conditions. The state-of-the-art 4×4 dyno system is the result of $2.5 million worth of investments in the existing dyno and drive cell at its HQ and will help “FCA to design and develop products to survive the harshest environments,” the automaker says.
Upgrades to the dyno include a drive cell housing that can be chilled and create wind speeds of up to 100 mph, evaluating how a vehicle performs when snow clogs its intakes. The dyno itself can also handle 350 horsepower on the front axle and 650 horsepower on the rear axle for testing high horsepower 4×4 vehicles. Additionally, significant ductwork and exhaust upgrades have been made for testing engines like the 6.7-liter Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel in the 2016 Ram 2500.
“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 FCA-North America vice president of product development, John Nigro. “With more 4×4 and all-wheel-drive (AWD) 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.”
The new dyno and climatic testing cells, which generate the highest wind speeds of any domestic OEM wind tunnel, help engineers measure the durability of certain exterior pieces and materials in extremely low or very high temperatures, along with how certain fuels react in those environments. FCA says their 129 different dynamometer cells run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a work pattern it’s managed to up since 1991.
So the next time you’re behind the wheel of Fiat-Chrysler crossover or SUV, remember it’s the result of nearly 25 years of consistent dyno testing.