FastSkinz car wrap applied to 2009 Ford Flex at left by Popular Mechanics
Three months ago, we ran a little item about FastSkinz, a new car wrap with little dimples in it that supposedly reduced aerodynamic drag over your vehicle. The claim: Up to a 20 percent improvement in gas mileage.
Our conclusion from February: We think it's at least a cool concept, so we say: Bring on the independent laboratory testing! And call us when you've got a rigorous report.
Well, turns out our "optimistically skeptical" pals at Popular Mechanics did exactly that. They got two identical 2009 Ford Flex Limited models (Flexen?), each with about 8000 miles. They wrapped one of them in FastSkinz MPG Plus and did a mileage run.
Results? Not so good for FastSkinz. The wrapped vehicle got slightly worse fuel economy, according to its in-dash display, and returned virtually identical mileage based on actual fuel used.
Ever resourceful, PopMex doesn't entirely give up on the idea of improving airflow using the dimpled surfaces. They suggest the scheme could be applied only to those areas where drag creates most turbulent flow--but that perhaps wrapping an entire vehicle in several pounds of plastic is overkill.
Meanwhile, we have a place for FastSkinz. Ours now sits on the shelf right next to that miracle 100-MPG carburetor that the Big Bad Oil Companies have been conspiring to keep from the American public all these years.
FastSkinz car wrap applied to Scion xB
[SOURCE: Popular Mechanics via AutoMotto]