The EV age has revived a century-old obsession with aerodynamics

Aerodynamics are an essential consideration in fashionable EVs. Decreasing aerodynamic drag improves effectivity, permitting for extra vary from a given battery-pack dimension.

However it bears emphasis: That is removed from a brand new obsession.

A brand new exhibit curated by Audi in Germany highlights an earlier period of aerodynamic experimentation. Within the Nineteen Thirties, engineers on the German automaker’s predecessor firms developed wild new physique shapes to assist scale back drag in combustion-engined vehicles.



Efficiency was as a lot a motivating issue as effectivity. Auto Union—one of many automakers later merged into the fashionable incarnation of Audi—utilized streamlined bodywork to its Sort C race automobile in 1937, permitting it to achieve a high velocity of 249 mph in a single speed-record run.

Related ideas have been additionally utilized to a road-car kind issue with the Audi Sort C Jaray. It wasn’t simply German producers, both—the Chrysler Airflow debuted in 1934 with wind-tunnel-tested styling. However within the case of each the Sort C Jaray and the Airflow, aerodynamic designs have been simply too far out of step with buyer tastes within the prewar years. This was lengthy earlier than gasoline mileage grew to become a priority, so effectivity wasn’t a lot of a promoting level.

Right this moment, although, EVs have made aerodynamics a promoting level. The Lucid Air is proudly proclaimed by its producer to be the most aerodynamically environment friendly luxurious automobile, whereas Nio claims its EC7 is the most aerodynamic SUV on the planet.



The solar-assisted Lightyear 0 claimed the title of most aerodynamic manufacturing automobile general—with a coefficient of drag (Cd) or 0.175—however only some models have been constructed. A current idea automobile from Chinese language automaker Chery claims a 0.168 Cd because of a physique form impressed by tuna, nevertheless it hasn’t been confirmed for manufacturing.

Electrical vehicles themselves as soon as gave internal-combustion vehicles (in addition to steam vehicles) competitors for auto-industry dominance earlier than fading away. And it bears some questions: Had EVs remained the dominant expertise a century in the past, would there have been extra of an emphasis on aerodynamics in current a long time? And what would the form of right this moment’s vehicles be if electrical motors, reasonably than internal-combustion engines, had been the dominant type of propulsion via the twentieth century?

What if aero had by no means gone out of style? Depart your ideas under.