GM says the large-scale production of its Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle (EV) has moved closer with the
optimisation of the EV´s aerodynamics.
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GM says improving the Volt´s aerodynamics are a major part in making the concept viable as a production vehicle,
as drag accounts for around one fifth of the energy used to move a vehicle, thereby impacting on fuel efficiency.
The Volt´s range, emissions and acceleration will also be affected by the vehicle´s drag coefficient, while the
cooling of components such as radiators and brakes are affected by airflow, as is cornering capability, crosswind
response, directional stability and on-centre handling.
The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in electric vehicle that will run up to 40 miles without ever using a drop of
gasoline by utilising an electric motor, which draws its energy from on-board batteries.
The batteries, in turn, are re-charged by an internal combustion engine that runs on petrol, diesel or ethanol.
When not in use, the batteries can be re-charged by plugging the Volt into an electric outlet.
Aerodynamics development begins with a 1/3-scale model where basic shape and major features are defined.
Simultaneously, computation development takes place to determine aerodynamic drag of design alternatives.
Development continues with full-scale models, where shape is refined and optimised for low wind noise. The
development process concludes with a vehicle prototype validation of the math-based analysis and physical
“I´m proud to say that after extensive aero development of the Volt, and more to come, we have achieved a
vehicle that had a coefficient of drag that is more than 30% lower in drag than the original concept," said GM VP
Ed Welburn. “It’s not easy, but it is a necessity."
“We are now in the midst of a new period of aero exploration. There has been a significant effort by all our
programme teams to improve fuel economy and now to extend the range of electric vehicles for the future."
GM has also announced the opening of a new studio dedicated to the company’s next generation of
The new E-Flex Systems Design Studio will develop a variety of vehicles using the E-flex propulsion system,
starting with the production version of the Volt.
Bob Boniface, lead for the exterior design of the Chevrolet Volt concept, said: “We handpicked a team of both
young and experienced designers who are enthusiastic, eager and believe in the cause as I do," said Boniface.
“They want to find a better way, a solution to our dependency on petroleum, and that’s what this car is about."