Pioneers and current: the 12 cars with the best aerodynamics in the world

Air penetration efficiency is not new. At the beginning it was a way to take advantage of the low power of the engines to go faster, later it was key to lower consumption

A few days ago, Mercedes Benz presented its Vision EQXX concept, an electric car with extended autonomy by solar panels, capable of running 1,000 kilometers without stopping to charge its battery. But part of that extraordinary autonomy is due to its shape, why is that one of the variables that allow a vehicle to consume less energy to scroll. The EQXX is the current car with better aerodynamic penetration of the world.

The effect of collision of a body against the air going forward, it is something that everyone can easily check with just put a hand out the window of a car while traveling at more than 80 km / h. With an open hand as if you wanted to stop someone, a great resistance will be generated. Instead, by laying it flat and parallel to the floor, the air will pass through easily. However, if he clenches his fist in different ways with the arm forward, it will be appreciated very clearly which form requires more strength and which requires less.

That effort of an arm to maintain the fist in different ways is equivalent to that of an engine to move a car against the air that it must displace to advance. And the more force it must do, the more energy it will consume. That energy was always gasoline or gasoline, and today is also electric, solar or hydrogen energy.

In order to penetrate better in the air, a car is more efficient than a cyclist, even if it is "piled up" and with an aerodynamic helmet
In order to penetrate better in the air, a car is more efficient than a cyclist, even if it is “stacked” and with an aerodynamic helmet

Aerodynamic drag is measured in Cx. And to get an idea of ​​values, you have to refer to things in everyday life. If you were placed a wall on a trailer and it will be released against the wind, For example, him penetration coefficient is 1.00 Cx. A ball, instead, it has a coefficient of 0.50 Cx and a parachute, which has one concavidad to collect air and thus act as a brake for a body, it has a Cx of 2.30.

Schlörwagen, 1939

The true forerunner of efficient aerodynamic profile was the 1939 Schlörwagen, with a Cx of just 0.15
The true forerunner of efficient aerodynamic profile was the 1939 Schlörwagen, with a Cx of just 0.15

In 1939, also Germany and based on a Mercedes-Benz 170 H 1936, the engineer Karl Schlör, created a car that broke with all known forms. It was shaped like a egg cut lengthwise and lying down, bottom forward. It was called Schlörwagen, and had the peculiarity of having the engine in rear position and seven seats for its occupants. It could be said that he was in advance of what we know today as SUV of the upper segment. The car was not very safe due to the counterweight that the engine made in the back, although it was 20 km / h faster than the original Mercedes that was mounted on that chassis, reaching the 135 km/h. In addition, he consumed very little, barely 8 liters per 100 km. Perhaps he was too ahead of his time, because it was considered an ugly car, and with the excuse of Germany’s entry into World War II, it was shelved forever. The Schlörwagen, had an coefficient aerodynamic penetration of 0.15 Cx.

Alfa Romeo B.A.T., 1953 a 1955

The three Alfa Romeo BAT models had their best exponent in the intermediate model with a coefficient of 0.19 Cx
The three Alfa Romeo BAT models had their best exponent in the intermediate model with a coefficient of 0.19 Cx

Almost a decade after the war, the Italian designer Franco Scaglione, designed for Bertone a Revolutionary Alfa Romeo for the time, with lines that sought to improve resistance to advance. There were three models between 1953 and 1955. They were called Alfa Romeo B.A.T., which stood for Technical Aerodynamic Sedan. The first, the B.A.T. 5 could have been the inspiration for Batmobile some years later, especially for their two large front intakes and raised rear wings. The second version, B.A.T. 7 reduced the air intakes, lowered the roof and wrapped the rear wings, and achieved a coefficient of 0.19 Cx. The third version, B.A.T. 9, trying to turn the car into one that could be mass-produced, the aerodynamics worsened, and even so, it failed to achieve its purpose. It was left in a collection of special cars and nothing more.

Citroën CX Pallas, 1974

The Citroën CX had a high Cx of 0.35, but it was a forerunner of forms in streamlined series-production cars.
The Citroën CX had a high Cx of 0.35, but it was a forerunner of forms in streamlined series-production cars.

Just for the 70’s, with the successive oil crisis around the world, it was when cars were reappeared in which they worked especially in their streamlined shape with the purpose of make them more efficient. And although they were born as concept cars, they began to decant in series cars. Then the model appeared that honored the nomenclature used to measure air penetration. Citroën created the fabulous and luxurious CX Pallas, a long car, full of glass surface, even with the concave rear window for aerodynamic reasons. Also famous for its system of variable air suspension, which allowed you to lower it to go on the road and achieve a Cx that had not been seen in street cars until then. The Citroën CX had 0.35 and drew sighs as he passed.

Ford Probe V, 1985

The Ford Probe V, the most aerodynamic of all, with a Cx of 0.137
The Ford Probe V, the most aerodynamic of all, with a Cx of 0.137

It was with him beginning of the 80’s, that that mark was broken when Ford developed a concept called Probe, what went through four evolutions different before reaching the final. La Probe V (5 in Roman numerals), it was as the most aerodynamic car in the world, with a coefficient of 0.137 Cx, and the three digits after the comma are invoked, simply to show how tight the measurement is.

The Ford Probe III was the inspiration for the Ford Sierra, with a Cx of 0.32
The Ford Probe III was the inspiration for the Ford Sierra, with a Cx of 0.32

The Probe III was the forerunner of the Ford Sierra, with which it could be said that this evolution was leaving a mark on a series car, although the XR4 coupe had a Cx of 0.32, much higher than the prototype finally had, but which was nonetheless excellent for the time. As a reference, it is worth noting that the Renault Fuego coupe, had a Cx of 0.35.

General Motors EV1, 1996

General Motors EV1, born in 1996 with 0.19 Cx
General Motors EV1, born in 1996 with 0.19 Cx

It was not until 1996 that General Motors took to an evolved aerodynamic project. It was about GM EV1, and as its name says, it was an attempt to make an electric car efficient and massive. The EV1 was unsuccessful despite its extraordinary shape coefficient of 0.19 Cx, because it had very little autonomy and capacity for only two people.

Honda Insight, 1999

The Honda Insight had a coefficient of 0.25 Cx
The Honda Insight had a coefficient of 0.25 Cx

Maybe the shape of the EV1 could serve as inspiration to design the Honda Insight released as the first hybrid car in Europe, in 1999, anticipating the Toyota Prius. The Honda had of engines, one internal combustion and one electric. It was a car two doors and four seats, which was well received by the market and probably it will go down in history as one of the most aerodynamic cars of its time. While the coefficient was 0.25 Cx, that value is still extremely competitive today. It was sold until 2006.

Volkswagen XL1, 2013

Volkswagen XL1, 2013 prototype, with a 0.189 Cx
Volkswagen XL1, 2013 prototype, with a 0.189 Cx

In 2013, Volkswagen created a prototype with the intention of manufacturing it on a small scale, for a very small market. It was also a hybrid car with a remarkable efficiency thanks to its aerodynamics. Unlike other cars that combined an internal combustion powertrain with an electric one, the Volkswagen XL1 was powered in its thermal propulsion, by a direct injection TDI. Between both engines I obtained 90 hp power and his great merit was that managed to do 100 kilometers with solo a liter made out of fuel.

Had one aerodynamic efficiency slightly lower than GM EV1, and it was necessary to appeal again to the three figures to break the tie. The VW XL1 had an air penetration coefficient of 0.189 Cx. But its value was very high, some $ 110,000, and the 250 cars that were built, sold, but they are rarely seen on the streets. They belong to collectors who keep them under seven keys.

The electric Mercedes-Benz EQS has a Cx of 0.20
The electric Mercedes-Benz EQS has a Cx of 0.20

After some years in which the habitability of the cars was against the efficient way, today, with electric mobility in the middle, aerodynamics were once again the protagonist of the design. The Mercedes-Benz EQS electric recently presented is the most efficient, with a coefficient of 0.20 Cx. Just behind appears the Tesla Model S con 0.208 Cx, and then there’s the fancy new Lucid Air reaching 0.21 Cx, and the impressive Porsche Taycan con 0.22 Cx. All these cars, they are back on the list, of the best modern car, the Mercedes-Benz EQXX mentioned at the beginning, that it barely reaches 0.17 Cx.

The Tesla Model S has a coefficient of 0.208 Cx
The Tesla Model S has a coefficient of 0.208 Cx

Why aren’t any Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, or Bugatti on this list?

That’s a good question. And the reason is that Because they are high-performance cars, they need more aerodynamic support, and therefore, its shape is efficient but generating downward load. The power of its engines perfectly pushes that load, which allows them to turn faster. In fact, that is one of the two reasons Formula 1 cars have more than 1.1 Cx. The other is that having the wheels uncovered but moving in the opposite direction to the air collision, each tire is worse than a wall so that the wind passes effortlessly.

The shape of a drop of water is ideal for a car, and throughout history it has been proven. But now what electric mobility is recovering the need for a silhouette that slows down as little as possible against the wind, maybe other forms will appear. The presence of an engine, a gearbox and an exhaust system, greatly conditioned the volume of a body. Without that powertrain, placing an electric motor in each wheel, and one slimline battery on the floor, maybe they open new air passages in a bodywork, which allow to improve form and efficiency. The cars of the future can still surprise us.

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Reference-www.infobae.com

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