Car manufacturer research and development centres are fantastic places to visit. You check out testing facilities and, if you are lucky, get a sneaky look at future products. But there is one problem when you visit — all photography is banned.
When our bus of international media arrived at the security gate, cameras and phones were taken off us before we entered the facility. And if any of the motoring journalists tried to sneakily take images with smart watches, there were security guards and Hyundai staff watching our every move.
It’s a pity you can’t take pictures because it’s amazing to see future vehicles, and carparks full of competitor brands about to be tested against their products. The Namyang centre covers 3470 million sq m, and has 12,000 staff in 160 research buildings over three areas.
Although we were there to drive some of Hyundai’s latest vehicles, we also visited the wind tunnel, where vehicles are tested for aerodynamics and aero acoustics. The main testing room is a huge space, covered in soundproofing. An 8.4m fan can hit the vehicle with windspeed up to 200km/h across an area of 7m high and 4m wide.
Those facts are fun — but you’ve got to try it for yourself.
Our group stood behind the vehicle being tested as the fan cranked up to 50km/h over about 30 seconds.
The wind whipped our lanyards around our faces, our shirts or tops were blown up and my hair was buffeted against my face.
But it wasn’t so strong that you couldn’t stand still — so a typical Wellington day!