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Electric cars need to wear skirts for maximum range

Genesis GV60 active air flap
Genesis GV60 active air flap

Hyundai’s active air skirt drops in front of wheels to redirect air

The Hyundai motor group has developed a new active aerodynamic device called the active air skirt (AAS), which it expects to reduce a car’s drag coefficient by 2.8%.

That might sound like a modest amount, but every tiny increment counts here, and the company says the device could improve the range of electric cars cruising at higher speeds.

The AAS has already been tested on the Genesis GV60 electric SUV. It consists of two panels that drop down ahead of the front wheels at 50mph, the speed at which Hyundai says aerodynamic resistance becomes greater than rolling resistance.

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To avoid it fidgeting in and out of play, there is some leeway before it retracts again. That happens at about 43mph. The aero aid can also be used at speeds in excess of 125mph and the panels have rubber lower parts to prevent damage from debris flung up from the road.

The AAS can vary its position to control air turbulence around the front wheels at different speeds too. It’s arranged in two separate parts, one for each wheel, simply because the flat underbody of the E-GMP platform for which it has been designed takes care of airflow under the centre section and extending the AAS right across the car would be unnecessary.