I’ve just spent a fascinating day in Munich taking a few hours to look around BMW’s latest developmental powerhouse.

The new Energy and Environmental Test Centre aims to replicate the harshest environmental conditions in world in laboratory conditions under a single roof.

The ETC has three wind tunnels and two test chambers which, between them, can conduct climatic tests that used to have to be done in the world’s harshest environments.

With the facility, new vehicles can be subject to temperatures as low as -30 degrees C and as high as +55 degrees C. BMW engineers can simulate high altitude, powered snow storms and massive deluges of rain.

Perhaps the biggest advantage for BMW is that the ETC massively reduces the need to fly test cars, engineers and equipment around the world.  Although the ETC cost 130m Euros to build, the BMW board nodded its construction through quickly such were the potential savings from not having to airfreight prototypes to Death Valley or Alaska.