PORTLAND, OR— Freightliner announced the opening of its heavy-truck wind tunnel yesterday. Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski started the fans of the Freightliner Wind Tunnel at a ceremony here, which was also attended by Portland Mayor Vera Katz.

The Freightliner research facility is the only heavy-truck wind tunnel in North America, as well as and the only wind tunnel in North America owned by a truck OEM.

The 12,000-square-foot tunnel will be used to refine truck aerodynamics. Freightliner’s goal is to reduce drag by 15% and cut fuel consumption by 5% in its Next Generation truck, due in 2007, according to Michael von Mayenburg, senior vp of engineering and technology.

The wind tunnel will provide uniform, repeatable airflow over tested vehicles, allowing engineers to examine airflow over the hood, under the vehicle, and past the windows and mirrors. In addition, there will be studies on how airflow affects engine cooling and splash-and-spray generation.

All Freightliner commercial vehicles will be tested at this facility, including upcoming and existing products.