Hyundai and Kia this week unveiled a new aerodynamic element aimed at improving EV range.
Dubbed the Active Air Skirt, it's essentially a flap that deploys in front of a vehicle's front wheels at certain speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag. While specific production plans weren't discussed, Hyundai and Kia believe the skirt could be helpful in improving the aerodynamic performance of SUVs, or EVs with wider wheels.
Genesis GV60 with Active Air Skirt
The skirt deploys at speeds above 80 kph (49 mph) and is designed for speed up to 200 kph (124 mph), according to a Hyundai press release. It retracts at 70 kph (43 mph); the gap between deployment and stowage speeds is meant to prevent frequent movement at intermediate speeds. Designed for Hyundai's E-GMP platform, the skirts only cover the tires because the platform allows for a flat floor, Hyundai said.
Hyundai and Kia tested the skirts on a Genesis GV60 electric crossover from Hyundai's luxury brand. The automakers claim to have seen a 2.8% reduction in the coefficient of drag (Cd), which Hyundai said could be worth 3.7 miles of additional range. The automaker also claims increased downforce, improving stability and traction at higher speeds.
Hyundai and Kia have applied for patents on the Active Air Skirt in both South Korea and the U.S. Mass production will be considered pending durability and performance tests.
2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6
This is yet another example of how the EV age has rekindled an obsession with aerodynamics first seen nearly a century ago, another being Hyundai's own Ioniq 6 sedan, which sports an impressive Cd of just 0.21.
The Volkswagen ID.7 sedan follows the Ioniq 6 in emphasizing aero, while Mercedes-Benz's Vision EQXX concept shows that with upcoming EVs, it's also aiming to emphasize aero a lot more—and cut weight.