Could Make a Big Difference at Highway SpeedsMercedes certainly isn't short on green goals. It wasn't so long ago that it announced that it wanted a car lineup free of fossil fuels by 2015 (though it's not 100% clear what that means when it comes to biofuels...), and it is now saying that it wants to sell cars with a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.20 and less within 5 years. For comparison, the 2010 Toyota Prius, which is considered to be very slippery, has a Cd of 0.25. Read on for more details.
Photo: MercedesAutocar quotes Rainer Tiefenbacher, the project manager of the new Mercedes E-class coupe (which is going on sale in June), which has a Cd of 0.24:
There is still plenty more to come as we explore ways of improving fuel efficiency. Designers are still learning about what works aerodynamically and are having to consider it more and more when they think about how a car will look.
There are big steps to be made, especially around and under the engine hood. Twenty years ago we celebrated a 0.30 Cd, in five years we will reach the next big step.
This Could Help Electric Cars
This is very good news indeed, and I hope that other automakers are paying attention because it will be much easier to make plug-in hybrids and electric cars that have a long range if they are very aerodynamic. After all, when people drive a few hundred miles, it's usually on the highway where air resistance matters most, so a lower Cd will make more difference in driving range.
If you want to see what a DIY modified Honda Civic with a Cd of 0.17 looks like, check out Mike Turner's Aerocivic. He regularly gets 95 MPG with it.
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