The 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 is the most aerodynamic vehicle the Korean brand has ever made, delivering an impressively low 0.21 drag coefficient.
The vehicle's slippery shape plays a big part in the Ioniq 6's high efficiency that enables it to cover 614 kilometers (381 miles) of range on a full battery charge (WLTP). Besides enhancing range, aerodynamic efficiency also has a significant impact on performance, driving stability and driving/wind noise.
The Ioniq 6 achieves impressive aerodynamic efficiency through 1930s-style aerodynamic design and many technological advances developed in the wind tunnel. Starting with the looks, Hyundai's head of styling Simon Loasby cites the 1947 Stout Scarab, Phantom Corsair and Saab Ursaab as major influences on the Ioniq 6's sleek design.
"The true beginning of aerodynamic design and engineering started in the 1930s and we felt that taking inspiration from that era – and indeed from nature – was the perfect way to create uniqueness and sustainable performance in the EV segment."
Another key influence was the Supermarine Spitfire World War II British fighter plane, with Hyundai designers applying a Spitfire-inspired winglet to the side of the Ioniq 6's rear spoiler to absorb the air flow from the roof and reduce drag by minimizing vortices at the spoiler's tip. The winglet also effectively reduces the eddy currents generated from the side of the vehicle, helping to reduce drag.
Gallery: 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 in the wind tunnel
The car itself has a streamlined shape like the wing of an airplane, with the difference in pressure between the top and bottom of the vehicle generating lift aerodynamically at high speed. The downforce generated by the rear spoiler reduces lift even during high-speed driving to ensure stability. Hyundai designers also took inspiration from nature, especially the shape that a peregrine falcon takes when it dives after prey at 390 km/h (242 mph).
The Ioniq 6 was tested intensively in the wind tunnel, where it faced winds of up to 200 km/h (124 mph) generated by a 3400-HP fan in the quest to gain another 10 percent of efficiency with help from Hyundai's aerodynamic engineers.
That was achieved through several tricks such as the morphing technique—a shape transformation technology—used on the rear spoiler and several other advanced aerodynamic solutions, as well as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis using a supercomputer.
This allowed the designers to select the optimal spoiler shape from about 70 different options and enabled the application of an active air flap, wheel air curtains, wheel gap reducers, separation traps and wheel deflectors to problem areas.
These technological advances are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing, Hyundai says. You can see how each of these aerodynamic tricks works in the following video.