Improving total vehicle system aerodynamics

Challenge Description

Iochpe-Maxion and its divisions, Maxion Structural Components and Maxion Wheels are looking for ways to improve the aerodynamic properties of their chassis components and wheels.

The core of this challenge is to propose proven ideas or products that significantly reduce aerodynamic drag force on road-going vehicles.

The proposal needs to provide a cost analysis as well as consider current automotive regulations and safety requirements (i.e., load, high temperature, impact, corrosion, durability, recycling).


This challenge is intended to discover opportunities to improve total vehicle system aerodynamics. This ranges from drag force to noise and also turbulent air.

With the advent of electric vehicles, aerodynamics has become more important than ever. This is for two primary reasons; drag force and noise generated by turbulent air/wind. Both of these effects are more highly related to EVs than traditional ICE cars.

Electric motors are inherently much more efficient than ICE power units which means it is much more difficult to further increase the efficiency (at the motor) and therefore the vehicle manufacturers have to design a more efficient aerodynamic solution to make a drastic impact on vehicle efficiency. Typically motor efficiencies are 85% or higher and inverter efficiencies are 95% or higher. It is for this reason the OEMs are now more interested in discovering incremental efficiency improvements elsewhere on the vehicle.

Wind noise is also highly associated with the aerodynamics of a vehicle. With electric powertrains offering quieter driving experiences than ever, OEM engineering teams must now focus on reducing wind noise and the resulting cabin noise as it is now more noticeable than ever.

Key Success Criteria

The proposal should show an increased aerodynamic performance for automotive wheels. More specifically:

  • A solution that reduces drag force that would contribute to a decrease in fuel consumption and carbon emissions;
  • The solution should not negatively impact wind noise or drag force.

Possible Approaches

Examples of possible approaches include but are not limited to:

  • Traditional passive approaches with fixed surfaces or hardware;
  • Active systems such as deployable surfaces, closures or altered pressure influences (e.g., air injection).

Approaches not of interest

Theoretical ideas with no experimental support. Stand-alone insights are not enough. The deliverable must be a moderately well-formed idea or concept. 

Items to be submitted

Responses from companies (small to large), academic researchers, other research institutes, consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome.

We are looking for a concise abstract/executive summary.  The proposal should briefly describe the technical approach and which knowledge gaps you are addressing. It should provide information on technology performance, background, techniques and methods that have unique technology or protectable intellectual property, as well as description of the responding team and their related experience.

Once a proposal is accepted, we expect the submission of a well-developed project plan with an outline of the proposed project phases, project plan with milestones, including a budget.

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