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Think the Tesla Cybertruck isn’t aerodynamic? Guess again!
Posted on December 14, 2019 by Charles Morris
Yes, Tesla’s Cybertruck looks unusual - whereas other modern vehicles have gentle curves, the new EV has sharp angles, and a shape some have described as “boxy.” To the untrained eye, it looks anything but aerodynamic, but did you really think Elon and Franz didn’t think about that? As more information emerges, it turns out that the Cybertruck’s angular form might be almost as sleek (though perhaps not as S3XY) as that of its more curvaceous cousins.
Above: A look at Tesla's new Cybertruck (Image: Tesla)
Aerospace engineer Justin Martin performed some calculations, using computational fluid dynamics modeling software (as reported by Electrek and Interesting Engineering). Based on the limited information available, Martin found that the aerodynamics of the new Tesla looked “promising.”
Now Elon Musk has responded to Martin’s findings. “With extreme effort, Cybertruck might hit a 0.30 drag coefficient, which would be insane for a truck,” Musk tweeted. “Requires tweaking many small details.”
Above: Using computational fluid dynamics to analyze aerodynamics of the Cybertruck (YouTube: Boats and Engines)
As Electrek‘s Jameson Dow pointed out, coefficient of drag (Cd) doesn’t tell the whole story - Formula One racers, for example, often have comparatively high Cds. However, for EVs, maximizing range is mission-critical, so in general, the lower the Cd the better. Dow offers the Cds of some other vehicles for comparison: the Hummer H2 has a Cd of 0.57; sports cars like the Corvette score around 0.30; Tesla’s Model 3 scores a 0.23; legacy pickup trucks are “typically in the high 0.3 range,” for example, the Toyota Tacoma rates a 0.39.
Of course, as Musk acknowledged, the Cybertruck’s design has not been finalized - it remains to be seen what details such as bumpers, wheels and side-view mirrors will look like on the production version. However, far from being the boxy brick that the croakers imagine, Tesla’s trailblazing truck may prove to be the most aerodynamically efficient pickup on the market.