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Effect of Underbody Geometry on the Fuel Efficiency of Gasoline and Electric Vehicles

[+] Author Affiliations
Krishnaswamy Mahadevan, Fred Barez, Ernie Thurlow, Davood Abdollahian

San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

Paper No. IMECE2018-86629, pp. V007T09A072; 10 pages
  • ASME 2018 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 7: Fluids Engineering
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, November 9–15, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5210-1
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


Automotive industry in continuously expected to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. Increasing fuel prices and environmental concerns such as emission of CO2 are two areas in vehicle design improvement. There are multiple factors that affect the fuel economy such as rolling resistance, aerodynamic drag, and weight of the vehicle. As the speed of the vehicle increases, aerodynamic drag force becomes the dominating factor affecting the fuel consumption. This aerodynamic drag is a result of the low-pressure region created at the rear end of the vehicle. This low-pressure region is due to the relative square shape of the vehicle at the rear end which generates vortices.

This project aims to investigate the effects of an underbody in reducing the aerodynamic drag forces and its effects on fuel usage. The underbody in vehicles is one such area in improving the aerodynamics of a vehicle which can have an impact on overall drag force.

Various underbody geometry modifications were carried out on a 3D model of Fiat 500 Electric and Gasoline versions to simulate the effect of underbody geometry on fuel consumption using the CFD simulation tool ANSYS Fluent. It was concluded that the underbody of vehicle influences the overall aerodynamic drag by 20%. Underbody geometry modification helps in reducing the fuel consumption by decreasing the overall aerodynamic drag of the vehicle.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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