Aerodynamics Revival in the EV Era: A Century-Old Obsession

Aerodynamics, a critical aspect in modern Electric Vehicles (EVs), traces its roots back to the 1930s when engineers engaged in groundbreaking experiments. Audi’s recent exhibit in Germany sheds light on the earlier era of aerodynamic exploration, revealing the inventive efforts to reduce drag in combustion-engine cars.

Evolution of Aerodynamics in the 1930s

In the 1930s, German automakers’ predecessor companies delved into avant-garde body shapes to enhance efficiency. Auto Union, a precursor to Audi, demonstrated this by applying streamlined bodywork to its Type C race car in 1937. This innovation propelled the car to a remarkable top speed of 249 mph during a speed-record run.

The commitment to aerodynamics wasn’t confined to Germany. The Chrysler Airflow unveiled in 1934, incorporated wind-tunnel-tested styling, showcasing a global interest in this evolving field.

However, both the Audi Type C Jaray and the Airflow faced a challenge—their aerodynamic designs were ahead of their time and didn’t align with customer preferences in the prewar era, where efficiency wasn’t a significant selling point.

Aerodynamics Takes Center Stage in EVs

Fast forward to the present, and aerodynamics has become a pivotal selling point for EVs. Manufacturers proudly boast about the aerodynamic efficiency of their electric vehicles.

The Lucid Air hailed as the most aerodynamically efficient luxury car, and Nio’s EC7, claiming the title of the most aerodynamic SUV, exemplifies this trend.

Solar-Assisted Innovation

The Lightyear 0, a solar-assisted vehicle, achieved the distinction of being the most aerodynamic production car overall with an impressive coefficient of drag (Cd) of 0.175. Although only a few units were produced, it showcased the potential of blending aerodynamics with sustainable energy.

Future Visions and Unexplored Realms

As we appreciate the strides in this field made by EVs today, it prompts questions about the past. If electric vehicles had dominated a century ago, would aerodynamics have played a more central role in automotive design? How would the shapes of today’s cars differ if electric motors, rather than internal combustion engines, had shaped the course of 20th-century propulsion?

You may also see: Xiaomi SU7: A Breakthrough in the Electric Vehicle Landscape


1. How did aerodynamics impact automotive design in the 1930s?

In the 1930s, engineers, particularly in Germany, experimented with innovative body shapes to reduce drag in combustion-engine cars. This era marked the early steps in understanding the significance of this aspect.

2. Why has aerodynamics become a selling point for modern electric vehicles?

With the rise of Electric Vehicles, aerodynamics has become crucial for enhancing efficiency and increasing the range from a given battery pack. Manufacturers now proudly showcase the aerodynamic features of their EVs as a key selling point.

3. What role does aerodynamics play in sustainable vehicle innovation?

This is integral to sustainable vehicle innovation, as seen in solar-assisted vehicles like the Lightyear 0. This showcases the potential of blending aerodynamics with renewable energy sources for a more efficient and eco-friendly automotive future.

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Aliha Zulfiqar
Aliha Zulfiqar
With a major in English Language and Literature, I'm a dedicated SEO Content Writer. Also, I love to write about technology. With over 2 years of experience, I've had the privilege of contributing to various renowned platforms. As I look forward to the future, I am committed to refining my work and delivering content that stands out.

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