Air, I am sorry to report, is stealing your money. Although we walk through it with ease, it is an unfortunate reality that traveling through the air at highway speeds causes an enormous amount of drag, slowing you down, and using up your gas.
In fact, Chris Anthony, the CEO of Aptera, the makers of a highly aerodynamic EV, suggests that around 60 percent of the energy a typical car spends going at highway speeds is used pushing air out of the way. Naturally, then, a desire to use aerodynamic principles to lower that number will emerge.
Encouraged by record fuel prices in the state of California, Think Flight, a YouTube channel focused on aeronautics, decided to put its knowledge of airfoils towards lowering the coefficient of drag on a terrestrial vehicle. And they decided to do it without spending much cash.
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Reasoning that his Subaru Impreza hatchback was designed more for practicality than aero efficiency, the host of the video decided to use 1.5-inch insulation foam to extend the surface of his car. Using the foam, he fashioned a cone emerging from the back of the car that he reasoned would make it cut through the air more smoothly, tearing fewer vortices into it.
And the results are pretty impressive. Using just duct tape, gorilla glue, foam, Goop, and cardboard, he builds a surprisingly strong extension for his car.
He then tests how much money he saves on a highway drive. Although he seems a little disappointed by the results, I think a gain of 13 percent on his first try is pretty impressive. He does explain, however, how the car can be improved.
Although air moves over the top of the car very smoothly, it becomes more turbulent the further down the sides you go, becoming very unpredictable under it. He reckons that using a front splitter and side skirts, as well as a new shape that attempts to keep air from making contact with the undercarriage, could easily double his efficiency gains at highway speeds.
Along with being a fun look at how to save some gas money, the video also provides simple and easy-to-understand insights into the process of analyzing aerodynamics.