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As a result of the buzz surrounding the wind tunnel testing of the Chevy Volt, I've done a bit of research into what vehicle shapes provide the lowest wind resistance (cd, or coefficient of drag in techie talk). Since lower wind resistance equates to greater fuel efficiency, this is a point of considerable attention to the manufacturers of next generation vehicles.

More on the tech of aerodynamic design after the jump, but I thought it would be interesting to start the conversation with some of the most aerodynamic vehicles that have ever been created. Full story here
 

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For any body moving through a fluid, the most efficient shape is a "half body" facing the fluid flow, then the shape necks down like a tear drop. If you want to recreate the shape at home, take your kitchen cutting board, and turn the faucet on low, so that you have a solid flow of water and place the board directly under the water. Tilt the board just slightly to one side, so that the water runs off the board all in one direction. The water hitting the board forms an isotropic pressure front in all directions, and the slow flowing water around it represents fluid flow around this equal pressure body. The equal pressure body will take a half body shape with the flow around the half body slowly merging behind this body. You can add food coloring to either the faucet flow or anywhere on the cutting board to witness this half body shape.

The closest vehicle to this shape is the Aptera:

Aptera link
 
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