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China's first automobile wind tunnel starts operation
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China's first automobile wind tunnel began operation at Tongji University in Shanghai Saturday, indicating a major breakthrough in automobile development and production.

Costing 490 million yuan (72 million U.S. dollars), the Shanghai vehicle wind tunnel center will provide testing services for manufacturers of cars, buses, sport utility vehicles, trucks and train models, said Chen Xiaolong, vice president of Tongji University.

It will also facilitate the research and development of new energy vehicles, high-speed trains and big airplanes, he said.

The wind tunnel center offers a platform to design more energy-efficient and beautiful cars ourselves, said Yang Zhigang, the center director.

The center is equipped up-to-date technology for noise control, ground simulation and measuring precision of aerodynamic forces, he said. "It will strengthen China's competitiveness in automobile market."

More than 10 automobile wind tunnels have been built in the world.

"I had two dreams when I came back to China from Germany nine years ago," said Science and Technology Minister Wan Gang. "One is to design our own new energy cars; the other is to build China's first automobile wind tunnel."

"Now both dreams have come true," he said.

Previously, Chinese automobile manufacturers had to pay millions of euros to do wind tunnel testing in foreign countries.

(Xinhua News Agency September 20, 2009)

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