TESLA meet SOLIDWORKS Simulation, Your New BFF

Elon Musk’s Cybertruck has been one of the most talked-about vehicles towards the end of 2019. I remember watching the Unveiling video and being shocked by the extreme change in appearance of the truck. This is unlike anything out there! After a couple of minutes in, my brain began to go haywire about the design:

  • What is the towing efficiency going to be like?
  • Does the truck have a good aerodynamics design?

First things first, towing efficiency. I started to do some research online and found several articles out that speak on the efficiency of electric vehicles. Specifically, they all focus on how battery consumption is so drastically affected when towing. If you follow the “The Fast Lane Car” channel in YouTube (like I do!) they recently posted a video where they test the efficiency of a Tesla Model S when towing 4,500 pounds. They stated that the Model S used 59% battery when towing over a period of 65.7 miles compared to 21% when not towing anything. This is 3 times more consumption! So, I guess it’s safe to say that even if the Cybertruck has an optimized design, there is more work to be done (for electric vehicles everywhere really) when it comes to towing efficiency.

Then of course there is the concept of a good aerodynamic design. This one was tricky, as I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for online. So, I thought okay I’ll just figure it on my own but how can I test the aerodynamics of the truck when I don’t even own one? Then it all clicked… Simulation! SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation is an intuitive Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) solution that allows you to analyze liquid and gas flows on your designs to calculate product performance. So long as I have a design model, I can test through and around the Cybertruck! With a quick search on GrabCAD I was able to find an educational version of the Tesla truck model and I was off to the races.

I inserted the Cybertruck model in SOLIDWORKS and quickly put together a study to simulate traveling at 60mph. The results were awesome! You can see from the video below how the air flows around the design. Just like I feared though, the flat shape on the front of the truck does seem to cause a lot of drag on the vehicle. Meanwhile, the triangular shape allows the air to travel freely. Pretty interesting, right?

I cant wait to find out more about the Cybertruck and to see how electric trucks progress in the market, overall.

Thanks for following along!

Check out more blogs like this one here. You’ll find helpful articles and educational videos on a wide range of engineering and manufacturing topics to help you maximize efficiency in your job role!

And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on our latest blogs, videos, promotions and more!