Tesla Cybertruck Drag Coefficient

The German company Numeric Systems GmbH, which develops simulation programs, asked itself how good the aerodynamics of the Tesla Cybertruck actually are. The result: twice as much aerodynamic drag as the Tesla Model S.

In a LinkedIn post, the company reported the following:

WE OBTAINED A DRAG COEFFICIENT OF 0.39. 🧐 For comparison, this value is almost double of the model S (Cd = 0.208*), higher than the speculated for the BMW iX (Cd = ~0.25**) or the 2020 Ram 1500 (Cd = 0.357***), but substantially lower than the speculated for the F150 lightning (Cd = ~0.56**). In terms of range compared to the model S, at high speeds the CYBERTRUCK is expected to lose range more than two times faster due to its bigger frontal area.

Paru le 16 juin 2022. Disponible dès maintenant en librairie, chez l’éditeur et sur Amazon.

Le dernier titulaire d’un permis de conduire est déjà né

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However, there were also positive surprises and suggestions for potential improvements:

⚡️POSITIVE SURPRISE⚡️

Contrary to what many people would think, the sharp edge of the roof does not produce a big detachment! 🤯 It is true that the flow it is not attached, but in fact the air follows down the slope quite seamlessly. The boundary layer does not substantially grow. This is quite remarkable and a big aerodynamic advantage compared to other pick-up trucks. Moreover, the diffuser makes a substantial effect in the center of the vehicle’s rear-end! It creates suction and reduces the wake.

⚡️IMPROVEMENT POTENTIAL⚡️

On the other side, our results show clear turbulent structures created by the front edge which connects the bumper and the bonnet, the vertical edge right behind the front lights, the wheel arches’ “protectors”/surrounding edgy geometry, the rim styling and the geometry of the a-pillar and c-pillar. 🤔 The generation of the turbulent structures is caused by the sharpness of these edges. These geometrical features increase the drag of the vehicle, which ultimately reduce the range the CYBERTRUCK. Furthermore, due to the sharp rear end, the flow instantly detaches and creates a considerably big low energy area (wake), mostly noticeable behind the top and side rear-end edges.

⚡️SUMMARY⚡️

Seems like having a head-turning design does NOT come at a high price for the aerodynamic performance of the CYBERTRUCK. 👏 The sloped geometry of the windshield and the bed cover make a very good job of keeping the air attached to the car, thus lowering the drag. It is a smart design. 🤓 At the same time, by adjusting couple surface features, in particular the surrounding edgy geometry of the wheel arches, the drag could be lowered even further. This reflects the typical conflict of interests between design and aerodynamic efficiency in the automotive industry.

Hier ist das Simulationsvideo:

This article was also published in German.

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