InsideEVs received an email with an article penned by Exa Corporation's Digital Imaging Expert, Ales Alajbegovic (via Rupert Andrews/PFPR Communications), explaining the upcoming Tesla Model 3 aerodynamics, and its impact.
Exa's PowerFLOW digital simulation software is used by Tesla to design its cars. While the Exa corporation doesn't actually see Tesla's process, the company uses the same software to analyze the vehicles, and can provide valuable information.
Tesla Model 3, No Front Grille
In order for the Model 3 to hit its promised base price of $35,000, the battery pack will need to be smaller. This makes achieving the hopeful 215 mile range a challenge. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk said the drag target is set to be extremely low, at 0.21 Cd. This is lower than the Model S that boasts 0.24.
As an example, when Tesla reduced the Model S Cd from 0.32 to 0.24, the range increased by 50 miles. Ales speculates that the 0.21 reduction could add another 10-20 miles of range.
The reveal of the Model 3 showed that the company has gone to great lengths to assure that the goals are met. The first noticeable change is the fact that the Model 3 has no grille or grille graphic. This allows for the continuous wedge shape to aid in air flow. Some people complained about the look of this, but the all-electric car has no need for it.
Ales believes that there are no "active" aero devices on the Model 3; another cost saver. Instead, everything is designed to be aerodynamic in and of its own physical design. For instance, all wheel designs use a "turbine-blade" style that forces air beneath the car, limiting drag.
Since Tesla decided not to switch to cameras yet, the side mirror mounts are thinner and more aerodynamic. Air is forced to flow into the front of the car and over the wheels, due to air curtains in the fenders. This also directs the air flow more smoothly along the sides of the vehicle. Underneath the vehicle has not been seen clearly, but Ales said it is likely to be "flat and smooth" with a diffuser at the rear.
It will be very telling to see the final product and the actual numbers for drag and range. Tesla has never had issues with range in the past, as the company has surpassed all competitors in the category, but keeping the cost down for the Model 3 is something that is new to the company. It's probably pretty safe to say that Ales of Exa is the authority when it comes to crunching these numbers.