Carmakers are continually trying to produce new and exciting designs which appeal to a wide range of customers. At the same time, they’re having to meet increasingly stringent rules and regulations on fuel economy and emissions, which, we know, are inextricably linked to bodyshape and aerodynamic performance.
Within this equation, you have the age-old issue that permeates the early stages of automotive production: balancing the wants and needs of the design team – which prioritizes the aesthetic allure of the vehicle – with those of the engineers – tasked with ensuring final designs are mechanically, and financially, viable.
Working on different timescales with somewhat conflicting objectives, it is not uncommon for designers and engineers to find themselves out of sync on the same project – particularly when day-to-day contact can be limited.
What some carmakers have now discovered, however, is that simulation-driven design can help repair this disconnect, thanks to integrated visualization tools provided in computer-aided engineering software such as Exa PowerFLOW®. As Dr. Paul Stewart, Exa’s Senior Director of Design and Visualization, states in this video, these tools form a common language, allowing design teams to understand how the geometries of their designs drive the performance of the vehicle.
Crucially, simulation software also allows for an intricate, real-time understanding of design alterations for both designers and engineers. And this doesn’t mean that designers are now having to concede ground on more daring concepts.
Quite the opposite, as this holistic approach to car design encourages multi-disciplinary collaboration right from the start of the development process, resulting in expressive yet feasible designs.
This approach allowed Jaguar’s design and engineering teams to work together on XE from day one, instilling the confidence and freedom to fuse ‘art’ with ‘science’ and develop a performance-orientated model with sleek proportions, highly competitive efficiency and best-in-class drag coefficient of just 0.26 cd.
As pressure builds on all carmakers to deliver new styles within an increasingly regulated market, they’ll need all their people pulling in the same direction, at the beginning of the development process, to have any hope of meeting regulations while appealing to the aesthetic tastes of modern consumers.