These are the 10 most aerodynamically efficient EVs on sale today
Electric cars are taking the art of reducing drag to new levels...
Lightyear 0 – 0.175
The slipperiest crown of them all, with a drag factor of just 0.175Cd, goes to the Lightyear 0. But that’s arguably not even the most interesting thing about it, because the 0, as the eagle eyed will likely have spotted, also wears solar panels. Yep, this is the solar-powered car going mainstream.
Six years in the making, the Dutch company claims that those solar panels can generate an extra 43 miles of range a day in optimal conditions, meaning precisely nowhere in Britain. Fortunately, there’s also a 60kWh battery pack for us unlucky folk to fall back on, good for around 400 miles of range.
Production started in November last year, with prices starting from €250,000 (£220k approx) and order books are now open on the company’s website. Better get that lottery ticket purchased ASAP.Advertisement - Page continues below
Lucid Air – 0.197
A respectable silver medal goes to Silicon Valley-based Lucid with its Air electric saloon. Its clean-cut profile contributes to an astonishing 520-mile range, which makes it the longest range EV in the world. Just as well, given the long waits at the UK’s charging stations we saw Christmas past.
Heading up the team of engineers charged with ensuring the Air cuts through the air as cleanly as possible is one Jean-Charles Monnet, Red Bull Racing’s former aerodynamicist, who’s seemingly succeeded in transferring all his previous Formula One know-how from racetrack to road.
While we’re still waiting on any Airs to reach our shores, word is we’ve not got long to wait, with prices at time of writing around £72.5k for the entry-level Air Pure. And to whet the appetite…
Mercedes EQS – 0.200
Mercedes has got form when it comes to slippery streamliners – see the IAA and EQXX concepts – so an entrant on this list was inevitable. Cue the Mercedes EQS.
The first purpose built EV from the German brand (previously it had replaced its existing cars’ engines with the electric gubbins) features several details to optimise airflow including a smooth underbody, active radiator shutter and cooling air control system. A range of up to 453 miles speaks for itself, with the EQS able to cut through the air like a hot knife through butter.
At the time of its introduction back in 2021 it was the most aerodynamic car in production, though its drag co-efficient of 0.2Cd is only good enough for a bronze medal today.Advertisement - Page continues below
Tesla Model S – 0.208
It’s testament to Tesla’s original design that for a car launched back in 2012, the year that saw Queen Elizabeth II celebrate her Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics come to London, and Barack Obama re-elected President for a second term in America, it retains its place on this list today. Advancements in technology, combined with the growth in the number of EVs on our roads, mean that this is an achievement that shouldn’t be understated.
“The lowest on the planet”, as the company claims of the Model S’s drag coefficient on its website, might be a little wide of the mark these days, but various aero enhancements, and presumable a monstrous amount of time spent in the wind tunnel, have seen its original 0.24Cd rating improved to 0.20Cd. Mock the frog-like styling all you like, but you can’t knock the results.
Hyundai Ioniq 6 – 0.21
Hyundai’s on a bit of a roll these days and the Ioniq 6 looks set to continue that trend, with the automotive and aeronautical worlds cited as inspiration behind its slippery streamlined shape.
These include the 1947 Stout Scarab, Phantom Corsair and Saab Ursaab streamliners, along with the Supermarine Spitfire and peregrine falcon. Yep, the 6’s rear spoiler winglets, which absorb the air flow from the roof and reduce drag, are reportedly inspired by the World War II British fighter plane, while the peregrine falcon’s shape while diving after prey was also studied. That’s a new one.
Unsurprisingly there’s active aero work at play too, while the 6 also faced 124mph speeds in the wind tunnel, all of which contribute to 100km (62 miles) further per charge over the Ioniq 5.
Porsche Taycan – 0.22
Porsche’s first all-electric car is a cracker – handsome to look at, great to drive, and up there amongst the very best for aerodynamic efficiency.
Indeed, Porsche claims its 0.22Cd drag coefficient is the lowest of any Porsche model, a figure achieved through extensive 3D CFD simulations, around 900 hours in the wind tunnel as a 1:3 model, and then another 1,500 hours in the wind tunnel once full scale.
Aerodynamic measures include air curtains around the front headlights, aero blade wheels, flat underbody panelling and a wide rear diffuser, while there’s also much active aero cleverness in the form of cooling air intakes and a three-way adjustable spoiler. Did you expect anything less?
Tesla Model 3 – 0.23
The Model 3 has shown no sign of slowing down since we named it our saloon of the year back in 2019, becoming the first electric car to pass the one million global sales milestone in 2021, and the current holder of the bestselling electric car in history.
Designed to be accessible to all, simple to operate and offering a handy real-world range aided by its low drag efficiency rating of 0.23Cd, these days it’s simply a household name. And let’s not forget Tesla’s cracking global charging infrastructure, which puts everyone else to shame.
It’s not hard to see why the Model 3 has become a global standard-setter for EVs. It’s biggest challenger, in fact, probably comes from within…Advertisement - Page continues below
Tesla Model Y – 0.23
Yep, the Model Y was not only the best-selling electric car in the UK in 2022, but the third-best seller on our shores overall, despite first deliveries only taking place in February. Seems there really is no stopping Elon these days. Apart from perhaps a Twitter poll.
A Model 3 in a more practical shape, it shares 75 per cent of its parts with its sibling, with the Model Y otherwise having had a slight growth spurt. Not that that seems to have had any impact on the drag coefficient, with an identical 0.23Cd shared between the two.
That extra weight, however, has resulted in a slight range penalty, with 267 miles playing 305 miles in the entry-level RWD Model Y and Model 3 variants respectively, plus an extra £3.5k asking price.
Skoda Enyaq Coupe – 0.234
Where the standard Enyaq electric SUV has to make do with a pitiful 0.257Cd drag coefficient, the Enyaq Coupe tops that with its 0.234Cd rating, thanks in part to its sloping roofline.
Other wind tunnel friendly details shared with the full fat model include aero wheels, an active cooling roller blind in the central front air intake and specially shaped exterior mirrors positioned on the front doors rather than in the window triangle of the A-pillar.
That new bodyshape doesn’t impact too much on practicality however, with the boot a mere 15 litres smaller and only a small difference in rear headroom. Just leave your taller mates at home, eh?Advertisement - Page continues below
Audi e-tron GT – 0.24
Just as night follows day, the Audi e-tron GT follows the Porsche Taycan onto this list. Based on the same VW Group platform and sharing the basic chassis and motor set-up, the Audi’s suit sees it falling slightly short in the slippery stakes.
Like the Taycan, there’s much aero trickery at work, including air inlets in the front bumper to guide air along the sides, controllable cooling air inlets, an electrically adjustable rear spoiler, flat underbody and wide rear diffuser, and aero blades in the wheels. You’ll have to ask someone much cleverer than us how it all works, mind.