The Aerodynamic Drag of Cars Current Understanding, Unresolved Problems, and Future Prospects

  • W. -H. Hucho


An introduction to the drag-related aerodynamics of cars is presented from a practitioner’s point of view. Both current understanding and unresolved problems are elucidated with the aid of examples from design work carried out on cars now on the road. Prior to discussing aerodynamic drag in detail, a brief outline is given of the entire field of vehicle aerodynamics, of the economic significance of drag, and of the constraints that have to be observed during design.

Subsequently, aerodynamic drag is classified by type. The mechanisms of external and internal drag are discussed. Attention is drawn to gaps in related knowledge, especially to induced drag. These more or less fundamental considerations are followed by the description of a method which has proved to be very effective during actual design work. This so-called optimization technique has been developed at Volkswagenwerk AG over the recent years. Some results achieved with the technique are presented.

Finally, today’s state of the art is placed in the context of a time history of vehicle aerodynamics. What has been achieved to date on production automobiles is compared with what is known to be attainable. This contrast should be viewed as a challenge, one that must be met by increased levels of research and development in vehicle aerodynamics.


Drag Coefficient Drag Reduction Fuel Economy Aerodynamic Drag Pressure Drag 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. -H. Hucho
    • 1
  1. 1.Volkswagenwerk AGWolfsburgGermany

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