Honda has announced the opening of a new wind tunnel facility, which is poised to aid in the development of future EVs.
The new US$124 million facility, called ‘the Honda Automotive Laboratories of Ohio” (HALO), is located at the independent Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio. According to Honda’s official press release, HALO has been designed for testing both aerodynamics and aeroacoustics.
When we consider the development of EVs — which is expected to accelerate over the next few years — both aerodynamics and aeroacoustics are incredibly important. Aerodynamic optimization can improve the highway range of EVs, while aeroacoustics dictate the ‘wind noise’ that would otherwise be drowned out by the engine and exhaust systems of gas-powered cars. “At the HALO facility, an array of microphones and cameras allow areas to pinpoint areas on a vehicle causing wind noise,” explained the release.
For reference, the wind tunnel uses a single 26-foot fan with 12 carbon fibre blades and is powered by a 6,700-horsepower electric motor that spins at up to 250 rpm. At that rpm, it creates wind speeds of more than 305 km/h. Honda plans to completely phase out gas-powered vehicles from its North American lineup by 2040. Those cars will reportedly be replaced by a combination of battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
By 2030, Honda expects 40 per cent of its sales to be represented by battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles — a number which they expect to increase to 80 per cent by 2035.