SAE International promoting recommended practice for measuring aerodynamic performance for light duty vehicles
SAE International is promoting “J2881: Measurement of Aerodynamic Performance for Mass-Produced Cars and Light-Duty Trucks”, a recommend practice detailing procedures to measure the aerodynamic performance of passenger vehicles, such as mass-produced cars and light-duty trucks intended primarily for individual consumers.
J2881, published in June 2010, provides a comprehensive overview of successful, aerodynamic testing and measurement practices in a full-scale wind tunnel.
Aerodynamic performance—primarily the aerodynamic drag coefficient (CD)—relies significantly on vehicle content and loading, as well as the type, scale and simulation qualities of the wind tunnel used to make the measurement. The recommended practice is critical to the automotive industry because publication of non-standard test results generates an incorrect perception of a vehicle’s anticipated aerodynamic performance by government, academia, and the general public.
J2881 is used by manufacturers for measurement and documentation for a particular vehicle. The intent is to promote uniform test protocols and traceable results of published aerodynamic performance.
As fuel economy standards become more stringent and fuel prices continue to increase, aerodynamic performance naturally becomes a more prominent part of the product development process. We are combining the best practices of automotive wind tunnels around the world so that J2881 will provide a meaningful metric for both consumers and manufacturers. We anticipate seeing published or advertised aerodynamic performance as “measured according to SAE J2881” just as we already do with J1349 for engine horsepower. Doing so will provide a better picture for the consumer and also enhance the reputation and credibility of the aerodynamics discipline.—Dr. Joel Walter, sponsor of J2881 and Chairman of the Road Vehicle Aerodynamics Committee