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    Cybertruck Has Very Good Aerodynamics

    Jul 29,2022 | Chloe Lacour

    Tesla's Cybertruck is said to have an excellent drag coefficient, compared to the rest of its class. Enough to silence some detractors.

    Sometimes decried, even mocked for its design, the Tesla pickup could well silence some detractors. Indeed, in addition to atypical lines and a very sharp look, what is criticized for the Cybertruck is not optimizing the aerodynamic aspect. 

    However, even more for an electric vehicle than for a combustion engine, work on the drag coefficient, i.e. wind resistance is essential to improving autonomy. 

    With its massive volume and angular edges, Elon Musk's pickup is, a priori, not the ideal candidate in terms of aerodynamics. But now that the design of the Cybertruck is final, a German company specializing in vehicle physics, Numeric Systems, wanted to check the aerodynamic capabilities of the beast.

    Surprise: these are pretty good, even very good. Indeed, in the context of a traditional pick-up, the drag coefficient, or Cx, oscillates between 0.55 and 0.65. 

    For Numeric Systems, which carried out CFD (computational fluid dynamics) tests on a 3D model of the Cybertruck, the Tesla pickup would obtain a score of 0.39. 

    Aleix Lazaro Prat, the CFD engineer in charge of the study, explains that “contrary to what many people might think, the protruding edge of the roof does not produce a great detachment”. 

    The person in charge of the project at Numeric Systems goes even further: “It is true that the flow is not attached, but the air follows the slope quite fluidly. 

    That's pretty remarkable, and a big advantage over other pickups. In addition, the diffuser has a clean effect in the center of the rear of the vehicle. This creates suction and reduces aerodynamic drag. »

    The Cx could still be improved

    What value should be given to this independent test? On the one hand, it should be remembered that it was not carried out with a real Cybertruck, but on a computer. However, wind tunnel tests could give slightly different results. In any case, the margin of error being quite small between the two methods, the conclusions concerning the aerodynamic qualities of the pick-up cannot be disputed. 

    On the other hand, another question could arise: can the Cx of the Cybertruck be improved?

     Indeed, substantial modifications before the start of production could still change the situation. On this subject, Aleix Lazaro Prat has some recommendations since he was able to target the weak point of the Cybertruck: its front face. "Our results show clear turbulent structures created by the front of the vehicle, which connects the bumper and hood, the vertical edge behind the headlights, the wheel arches, the styling of the rims, and the geometry of the A-pillars and C. 

    The generation of turbulent structures comes from the severity of the edges. These geometric features increase the vehicle's drag, which reduces the Cybertruck's range. Also, given the sharp backside, the flow breaks off instantly and creates a noticeable low energy area behind the top and side edges,” he explains.

    Anyway, the aerodynamic results of the Cybertruck are much better than those attributed to it on the basis of a few images. Nevertheless, the pickup does not reach the score hoped for by Elon Musk. Indeed, the boss of Tesla had set the Cybertruck's Cx target at 0.30. A little ambitious no doubt.

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