Porsche wants to beat aerodynamics by making its cars vibrate
It’s no secret that Porsche has a pretty good handle on aerodynamic efficiency. The company has been building road cars and race cars that use oncoming air to help with their handling abilities for decades, with fenders and diffusers and kicks and flaps. Porsche has also worked diligently to defy oncoming air as much as possible, building its cars to push the wind around them, through them and under them, if necessary. Not only can aerodynamic values help your lap times or cornering g-forces, they can affect your comfort level inside the car, as well as your fuel consumption (or electric range). Optimizing the basic shape of a car, while maintaining strong ties to traditional Porsche DNA, is an important part of what Porsche engineers do. It’s something of a dark art, airbending.
In recent efforts with the University of Stuttgart, Porsche is investigating whether it’s possible to buzz a car through the air more efficiently if it vibrates. ‘We are investigating whether it is possible to reduce the Cd value at certain points in the body by systematically introducing vibrations,’ suggested Professor Andreas Wagner, head of the automotive engineering program at the university. “If you introduce a defined pulse into the flow around the car using loudspeakers, its separation behavior can be influenced.” This interesting method of aerodynamic advancement, however, comes with its own set of challenges. NVH (or Noise, Vibration, and Harshness) is a term used in the automotive field to measure the comfort of passengers inside the car traveling at high speed. Obviously, improving aerodynamics is important, but it cannot replace passenger comfort.
Placing small resonant speakers in the bodywork of your next Porsche could make it a more efficient machine. Imagine shooting down the Döttinger Höhe in the ring in your 2028 911 GT3 RS and the car introducing a buzz all around you as you go 200 miles per hour. The added background noise means you get a bonus three miles per hour of top speed when the air starts moving around the car. It would be worth it, right? It’s the kind of thing that Porsche would absolutely come up with, and honestly, who cares about NVH when you’re going double ton?