A canna’ change the laws of physics

Scotty, The Naked Time, stardate 1704.3, Episode 7

Posts Tagged ‘drag area’

Sanity checking a striking claim

Posted by apgaylard on September 21, 2008

Interpreting technical data can be a tricky business, as demonstrated by an interesting article in last week’s New Scientist magazine.  In a fascinating review of the recent progress made by manufacturers of electric cars the journalist tripped up in his discussion of the aerodynamic drag figures claimed for the Aptera, a two-seat electric car (the word refers to wingless insects – appropriate enough as the car does look like someone has pulled its wings off!).

“…the entire vehicle has a drag coefficient of just 0.15 – making its drag roughly the same as that caused by a single large wing mirror.”

This is a very striking claim, however, we shall see that some simple maths and a few estimates are all that is needed to show that the journalist has made a mistake here.

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