Magna and the Art of Active Aerodynamics
Our engineers are following in the footsteps of automotive and aviation pioneers from Orville Wright to Ferdinand Porsche, creating products that employ active aerodynamics for everything from supercars to commercial trucks.
While some people may think of aerodynamics in terms of airplanes, Magna engineers are bringing the concept down to earth by creating dynamic components and systems that automatically adjust to redirect air around the vehicle to improve efficiency.
At Magna, active aerodynamic features are helping automakers to roll out pickup trucks and SUVs that give consumers the best of both worlds – big workhorse vehicles that can carry lots of passengers and have impressive towing capability, but also deliver better fuel economy.
One such feature, Magna’s active front deflector, was unveiled on the 2019 Ram 1500 pickup truck. A class exclusive and the first of its kind on a high-volume production vehicle, the active front deflector deploys automatically to smooth turbulent air flow under the vehicle and around the tires, which reduces drag.
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The new Ram also uses Magna’s active grille shutter system, which automatically closes the airflow through the truck’s massive grille when cooling is least needed.
The two active aero features on the 2019 Ram achieve an estimated 7 percent drag reduction and 1 mile per gallon fuel savings on the highway. The active aero system on the Ram is expected to save an estimated 10 million gallons of fuel annually across the Ram truck fleet.
Magna’s active aerodynamic expertise has grown significantly in recent years with more than 10 million active grille shutter systems on the road. Other products that help to make vehicles more streamlined include active underbodies, active wheel deflectors and active rear diffusers.
It’s a significant leap from the earliest days of the industry when aerodynamics consisted of static elements such as the teardrop-shaped body on Buckminster Fuller’s 1933 Dymaxion or the streamlined waterfall grille of the 1934 Chrysler Airflow, a vehicle that Wright helped to develop.
“As automakers seek ways to meet emissions and fuel-economy targets, our innovative solutions are able to combine styling with aero to take vehicle performance to new levels,” said Grahame Burrow, president of Magna Exteriors.