Once they got over the smashed windows, the next thing many of the Cybertruck’s detractors focused on was its unconventional boxy shape. At first glance, the vehicle surely looks un-aerodynamic, which would be a serious drawback for any EV. However, as more information emerges, it turns out that the Cybertruck’s angular form might be almost as slippery (if not as S3XY) as that of its more curvaceous cousins.
Aerospace engineer Justin Martin performed some calculations, using computational fluid dynamics modeling software (as reported by Electrek and Interesting Engineering). Based on the limited information available, Martin found that the aerodynamics of the new Tesla looked “promising.”
Now Elon Musk has responded to Martin’s findings. “With extreme effort, Cybertruck might hit a 0.30 drag coefficient, which would be insane for a truck,” Musk tweeted. “Requires tweaking many small details.”
With extreme effort, Cybertruck might hit a 0.30 drag coefficient, which would be insane for a truck. Requires tweaking many small details. https://t.co/IMLJbsInmq— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 1, 2019
As Electrek’s Jameson Dow pointed out, coefficient of drag (Cd) doesn’t tell the whole story – Formula One racers, for example, often have comparatively high Cds. However, for EVs, maximizing range is mission-critical, so in general, the lower the Cd the better. Dow offers the Cds of some other vehicles for comparison: the Hummer H2 has a Cd of 0.57; sports cars like the Corvette score around 0.30; Tesla’s Model 3 scores a 0.23; legacy pickup trucks are “typically in the high 0.3 range,” for example, the Toyota Tacoma rates a 0.39.
Of course, as Musk acknowledged, the Cybertruck’s design has not been finalized – it remains to be seen what details such as bumpers, wheels and side-view mirrors will look like on the production version. However, far from being the boxy brick that the croakers imagine, Tesla’s trailblazing truck will probably prove to be the most aerodynamically efficient pickup on the market.