Turns out there will probably never be a production electric vehicle in the shape of a teardrop. That’s the view of Marcel Straub at least, though Porsche’s lead aerodynamics engineer does have an unorthodox alternative.
Marcel, who’s also in charge of thermal management for the German brand, states in a recent Porsche Newsroom item that, when looking for the most streamlined shape for an electric vehicle, inherent to preserving electric range, one shape stands out above all others.
“If vehicles were designed solely with this aspect in mind, they would probably have the shape of a teardrop,” Marcel explains. “That’s because it has a shape that air can flow around with particularly low resistance – round at the front and tapered at the rear, so there’s no ‘wake’ and no drag against the direction of travel.”
The numbers back this up: the drag co-efficient of a teardrop is just 0.05 cd, a mammoth drop over the likes of the Lightyear 0 – ‘the world’s most aero-efficient production vehicle’ – and the Mercedes EQS, which boast 0.175 cd and 0.2 cd respectively.
Sadly, the intricacies involved in such a design would prove too complex to realize on a production model. Quite apart from significantly compromising rear cargo space and engine / e-motor housing (a particular concern for Porsche), turbulence in the wheel arches as the vehicle drives along would also hamper aero-efficiency. That, plus the proximity of the vehicle to the ground: “[this] prevents a perfectly symmetrical flow around the teardrop. A few centimeters above the road surface, it’s effectively impossible.”
The likelihood then of seeing a teardrop-shaped Porsche any time soon is slim to zero, the German brand even drawing reference to Alfa Romeo’s similarly-styled ‘40-60 HP Aerodinamica’ of 1914 and the ‘Schlörwagen’ of 1939 as failed experiments. There is one shape in nature though that surpasses the teardrop for aerodynamics: a penguin.
“Tilted horizontally, and with a cd value of 0.03, the penguin would make for an aerodynamically optimized car paired with an unmistakable shape.”
Again, the proximity of the vehicle to the ground (too high this time, ironically), turbulence from the wheels and universal regulations regarding cabin space “would foil any attempt at turning this into reality.” Still, an engine behind the driver was at one time considered a ludicrous venture ‘that would never work.’ And while “supply chain issues” have been officially cited for the Macan EVs delay to 2024, it’s not unreasonable to assume that Porsche is taking a clean sheet approach to the design of its third-generation crossover.
Yes yes, fine, mock all you want. But if the Macan EV arrives in 2024 shaped like a penguin, just remember where you read it first.