Everyone knows that Fiat Chrysler claims to be the king of getting through some pretty treacherous conditions, both on the road and the trail. While products such as the Jeep and Ram lines are impressive, the fact is that the automaker has to stay competitive, because there are actually other companies that make hardcore four-wheel-drive vehicles. That’s why Fiat Chrysler has created a new weather-simulating dynamometer or dyno.
With the new dyno, Fiat Chrysler can actually simulate some bitterly cold conditions by chilling the room where it’s housed to as low as 40 degrees below zero. It can also generate up to 100 mph winds, which simulates one nasty blizzard. Engineers can study all kinds of nerdy-yet-important details, such as how a vehicle handles its air intakes getting clogged up with snow and ice.
Not only can engineers study how arctic-like cold temperatures affect vehicles, it can also crank up the heat to simulate conditions in areas such as the Gulf Coast. It’s a smart move, considering that Fiat Chrysler sells cars, trucks and SUVs all over the world. Such tests helps assure that the products will not only survive extreme conditions, but also operate correctly.
The big dyno upgrade set Fiat Chrysler back about $2.5 million. It got all kinds of neat toys for the money, including a front dyno that can deal with up to 350 horsepower. The rear dyno is beefier, allowing it to accommodate vehicles that make up to 650 horsepower. Another improvement for the room was to upgrade the ducts and exhaust abilities, meaning even the 6.7-liter Cummins for the Ram 2500 won’t asphyxiate engineers.
Hopefully the new investment will help avoid the embarrassment of having more videos of frustrated Grand Cherokee owners stuck in the snow posted on YouTube. In all reality, that probably won’t stop anytime soon, which is just as well since they’re pretty entertaining to watch.