The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 November 2007

Not to mention polarizing looks

Before the opening of the Los Angeles Auto Show, GM Car Czar Bob Lutz was meeting with motor-noters and bloggers and other pesky types, and he did give out with one semi-scoop: the much-anticipated Chevrolet Volt will be reshaped before production. Apparently the electric Chevy concept car has the aerodynamics of a 12-volt battery:

When they put the concept into the wind tunnel it was a huge disappointment. Lutz said they might have gotten better results if they put it in backwards.

On the other hand, if you had to drive it backwards, you'd get some hellacious battery life, just from all that regenerative braking. (Try that with your damn Prius.)

Posted at 3:43 PM to Driver's Seat

Some of the comments over at AutoblogGreen take GM to task for their styling's poor drag coefficient -- while others argue that people don't buy a car for excellent aerodynamics.

The thing is, people who aren't into alternatives like hybrids or electrics for the environmental feel-goodism, are going to expect -- because the hype leads them to expect it -- that they can have great styling and great aerodynamics. In fact, they may have been led to believe over the years that good aerodynamics lead inevitably to good looks.

Never mind that the living thing that most needs a good drag coefficient ... is a whale.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:39 AM on 16 November 2007

I am told that Gwendolyn, who has something of the look of the Great White Whale about her, has a drag coefficient of 0.31, which is good but not great. At anything resembling normal speeds, the spoiler (not standard equipment) does little more than spoil her looks.

Still, all else being equal, good aero is an advantage, especially if you're trying to squeeze every last bit of efficiency out of a design. It has little to do with beauty, unless you're fond of the flying-doorstop / bustle-back shape that afflicts rather a lot of contemporary sedans.

And the efficiency-queen Toyota Prius has a very good 0.26 Cd, which hasn't made its hatchback-of-Notre-Dame appearance any more palatable.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:58 AM on 16 November 2007

Hah! My old '79 Vette IIRC had a CD of .47!

Posted by: Jeffro at 8:11 PM on 16 November 2007