Styling and Performance Both Important
What is the most recent car commercial you’ve seen? The commercial probably focused on a specific feature of the car, such as safety, reliability, quality, fuel economy or range, advanced technology, or price. But even if no words were said about this, virtually every commercial tries to emphasizes one key selling point: styling. This is because vehicle styling is one of the primary reasons new vehicle shoppers choose to either buy or avoid a vehicle model, according to recent studies by J.D. Power.
Styling is a top priority for manufacturers right from the beginning of a vehicle’s development. The design studio iterates on concept sketches, computer models, and physical prototypes to decide on the exterior styling of the car. The design is carefully crafted to inspire the imagination, evoke certain emotions, and reflect brand identity. All this is done to produce an aesthetically attractive design that will sell in the consumer market.
Since styling design decisions define the shape of the vehicle, these decisions unavoidably impact vehicle performance metrics that are important to engineering design teams. For example, the front fascia shape of the car affects attributes such as aerodynamic efficiency, engine cooling airflow, and cabin wind noise.
Unfortunately, designs with good styling may yield poor performance, and vice-versa. Styling decisions made early in the vehicle development process, without careful consideration on performance, may cause problems downstream in the development process. Performance targets may be missed or the development may be delayed, as engineering teams struggle to meet performance requirements while constrained by suboptimal design decisions made at the early stage.
A better approach is to consider both styling and performance together, right from the concept stage of vehicle development. With PowerFLOW 2020, not only can manufacturers evaluate the aerodynamic, aeroacoustic, and thermal performance of their early-stage designs with accuracy they can trust, but they can also explore how styling design changes would affect performance in a highly visual and interactive environment. A brand new capability called DesignGUIDE™ allows users to interactively morph the shape of their vehicle and immediately see the predicted impact on key performance indicators, based on data from highly-accurate PowerFLOW simulations. This video shows DesignGUIDE in action for early-stage conceptual design for aerodynamics and engine cooling airflow:
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