Engineers from SAIC Motor Technical Centre, the company behind MG Motor, co-hosted a global gathering of top automotive aerodynamicists in Leamington Spa, UK, in November. Recognizing the key role vehicle design plays in fuel economy, the EADE (European Aerodynamic Data Exchange) annual meeting welcomed 44 delegates from over 20 global vehicle manufacturers and two wind tunnel facilities.
Held at the Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) conference center in Warwickshire, the annual event gives engineers involved in reducing the drag coefficient of cars the opportunity to share new developments and data relating to wind tunnel testing. These tests are used to understand how well a car travels through the air, producing a set of figures to describe a vehicle’s relative aerodynamic performance.
Vehicle aerodynamics is becoming much more important in the overall design of cars, given the increasing pressure on manufacturers to improve fuel efficiencies and reduce harmful emissions. A car that travels through the air more easily makes for a quieter and more comfortable drive. Accordingly, drag coefficient has become a highly debated performance statistic among carmakers keen to increase fuel economy.
However, comparing results between facilities around the world is problematic, akin to comparing apples to pears. This is primarily due to variations in wind tunnel facilities where drag coefficients are measured and, to a lesser degree, from variations in testing methodologies.
EADE is a collaborative group that enables OEMs to share aerodynamic benchmark testing and strengthen the domestic aerodynamic technology base through sharing non-competitive ideas and technologies.
Nicolas Sabrazat, chief aerodynamic engineer at SAIC Motor, said: “Co-hosting the EADE event in the Midlands this year has been a great pleasure – as it reflects the growing confidence in the re-emergent motor industry here in the UK.”
The SAIC Motor Technical Centre (SMTC) in Longbridge currently boasts an engineering design team of over 250 people. This is the place where new models such as the MG3 supermini and MG GS sports utility vehicle have been designed. Already, the MG GS has been praised for its competitive aerodynamic performance, with engineers from SMTC presenting technical papers on its progressive design.
Looking forward to new models currently under development for MG, Sabrazat comments that the role of aerodynamics will become even more vital for tomorrow’s cars. He said: “With tough new emissions laws being introduced in 2017, and the ever-growing need for greater fuel efficiency, reducing the drag of vehicles is now more important than ever. It is for that reason that we have continued to invest in our resources here in Birmingham.”