Author: Robyn Jackson

24 Oct 2022

Overcoming Electric Vehicle Challenges: Aerodynamics

Vehicle manufacturers are facing challenges on all sides. Electric and autonomous vehicles intensify the challenge, bringing big opportunities to experiment with form but also increased risk, as designers don’t yet have tried and trusted data to tell them what has worked in the past. In addition, customers expect the experience of driving any new car to match the promises of its eye-catching style. Trade-offs between looks and performance are no longer acceptable and to avoid them, manufacturers need a rapid, robust process that brings styling and engineering together from the start.


In the automotive market, one race is toward the electrification of vehicles. Several major automobile manufacturers already offer electric cars, including TeslaKiaBMWNissanChevroletFord, and Volkswagen but we are also seeing a rise in new players, and start-up businesses who are coming to the market with viable products.

This pressure is leaving manufacturers with a sense of urgency to develop their own electric vehicles to keep up with their competitors and satisfy the needs of a growing number of customers who want to drive vehicles that make less of a negative impact on the environment. Can simulation help?

During our ‘Overcoming Electric Vehicle Challenges’ series, we will be exploring various challenges faced by manufacturers looking to pioneer electric and autonomous vehicle technology. In this article, we will be focusing on Aerodynamics.


Why is Aerodynamic Performance so crucial to the success of Electric Vehicles?

One of the biggest challenges for Electric Vehicle manufacturers is the issue of range or lack thereof in comparison to traditional combustion engine cars. Since the issue of range anxiety holds back many potential buyers, aerodynamics plays a crucial role in the success of electric vehicles – The more streamlined the car, the longer the range for the same battery.

Every kWh/m of energy consumption that can be shaved makes the car cheaper to manufacture, lighter, and more efficient. This is because the vehicle will require less battery cells to go the same distance, therefore reducing battery weight, and resulting in a lower rolling resistance

How can Simulation support Electric Vehicle Aerodynamic Performance?

Simulation allows designers and engineers to create and test virtual models of vehicles while avoiding the time and cost of building multiple physical prototypes. In general, simulation enables the final product to be built faster, to higher engineering standards, while reducing costs. This is especially important in a crowded automotive market where manufacturers are under pressure to expand their range and offer custom configurations. When it comes to those radical ideas for new EV designs, having simulation tools to give feedback on how untried vehicle shapes will perform is essential to move the industry forward.


Find out more in our On-Demand Webinar: Aerodynamic Design for Electric Vehicles

Electrification and autonomy are two of the most important emerging technologies that are leading the automotive industry revolution. This revolution has been made possible by the ability to digitally simulate, study, and improve vehicle aerodynamics, helping engineers to uncover new ways to improve efficiencies, save energy, and boost range.

Fill out the form below to watch the webinar on-demand

24 Oct 2022


This on-demand webinar will describe the process of setting up and analyzing a DesignGUIDE design study, as well as cover a series of examples across different industries and disciplines.
On-Demand Webinar
Duration: 45 Minutes


Manufacturers developing vehicles and products must innovate in response to rapid industry transformations, satisfy heightening consumer expectations, and meet all cost, quality, and regulatory requirements on time. 

Integrating simulation in the development process is critical to successfully meeting performance targets. However, traditional simulation results analysis generally does not directly indicate what design changes to make to improve performance. In addition, design decisions can be primarily driven and constrained by aesthetics, not only performance. Finally, the performance objectives of different engineering teams are often in conflict. 

These challenges inevitably lead to suboptimal design decisions, missed performance targets, and development delays.

To respond to these challenges, the PowerFLOW 2020 release introduced DesignGUIDE, a brand-new capability that enables manufacturers to interactively explore the impact of design changes on performance. With DesignGUIDE, manufacturers can acquire intuitive design guidance to achieve both engineering performance targets and design requirements.

Watch this e-seminar to find out how you can leverage DesignGUIDE to:

  • Directly connect design to performance KPI’s
  • Make accurate, data-driven design decisions
  • Collaborate with designers
  • Account for multi-objective trade-offs

Key Highlights: 

  • Integrated analysis of geometry changes and performance
  • Simulation-based design guidance is provided with a color map
  • Interactive design review environment
  • Multi-objective support across engineering disciplines

Who should attend?

Aerodynamic engineers, aeroacoustic engineers, thermal engineers, CFD engineers, design engineers


21 Oct 2022

PowerFLOW: Vehicle Styling for Aerodynamic Performance, Efficiency, and Product Certification

Vehicle manufacturers face challenges from all sides. As new competitors enter the industry the pressure is on to create stylish, differentiating vehicles and get them to market fast. But every vehicle must also pass stringent certification tests to satisfy regulators that it performs efficiently and meets emissions standards.

When aggressive styling leads the design process it can compromise aerodynamic performance, causing delays as engineers have to spend extra time putting things right so the vehicle can be certified for sale. Electric and autonomous vehicles intensify the challenge, bringing big opportunities to experiment with form but also increasing risk, as designers don’t yet have tried and trusted data to tell them what has worked in the past. As if this wasn’t issue enough, customers continue to expect the experience of driving any new car to match the promises of its eye-catching style. Trade-offs between looks and performance are no longer acceptable and to avoid them, manufacturers need a rapid, robust process that brings styling and engineering together from the start.


Designers are under pressure to innovate but also to get it right-first-time. If the aesthetic theme causes problems with aerodynamics, for instance, it’s time-consuming, costly and sometimes not possible to rectify those issues later. As a result, designers need to be confident that as well as looking good, the vehicles they create will meet all performance targets.

So, just how can vehicle manufacturers accelerate innovation, while reducing risks and time to market? One crucial step is to integrate modeling and simulation from the beginning of the design cycle. This is because Simulation-driven design allows both stylists and analysts to create innovative concepts, refine details and meet performance targets. Simulation allows designers and engineers to create and test virtual models of vehicles while avoiding the time and cost of building multiple physical prototypes. In general, simulation enables the final product to be built faster, and to higher engineering standards, all while reducing costs. This is especially important in a crowded automotive market where manufacturers are under pressure to expand their range and offer custom configurations. 

All the challenges listed above can be addressed through a simulation approach that helps designers and engineers connect the geometry between performance analysis and styling, while managing complexity across the entire development process. SIMULIA has solutions to do that.



PowerFLOW is SIMULIA’s computational fluid dynamics solution that simulates fluid flow over the vehicle with full-time accuracy. Unlike many fluid dynamics solutions which show only the average drag or condition of the flow field, PowerFLOW provides transient aerodynamic simulations using either ideal, uniform flow conditions or a realistic wind environment. Every element of the vehicle can be analyzed, enabling designers and engineers to quickly evaluate vehicle performance and drag, whether in ideal conditions similar to a wind tunnel or in the fluctuating conditions drivers will experience on the road. When this information is available early in the design cycle, it can be used to inform style decisions to ensure that great style does not mean compromises on performance. In fact, multiple vehicle manufacturers have already received approval for digital certification under WLTP using SIMULIA PowerFLOW.



DesignGUIDE, introduced in the 2020 release of PowerFLOW, empowers vehicle manufacturers to interactively explore the impact of design changes on performance. It provides feedback that connects performance to design in a graphical, intuitive way that gives stylists the freedom to craft appealing aesthetics while also achieving performance targets.

Using a color-coded surface map, DesignGUIDE provides a 3D representation of the vehicle which tells the stylist, designer or engineer how moving a surface in a given direction will affect aerodynamic performance. Colored areas indicate, for example, that pulling a certain surface outward will make the drag worse while pushing it in will improve it. It also provides vital information on the areas where designers can make styling choices that will have zero impact on the vehicle’s performance. This intuitive guidance leaves creative decisions firmly in the hands of designers, providing them with the information they need to combine aerodynamic performance with the aesthetics consumers want.

Crucially, by marrying creative freedom with the ability to optimize aerodynamic performance from the start of the design process, DesignGUIDE can rapidly accelerate vehicle development. Better communication between engineering and design teams, coupled with intuitive guidance, speed up the process of creating right-first-time designs that combine aesthetic with aerodynamic performance



SIMULIA tools are available on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which allows designers and engineers to collaborate seamlessly across disciplines and different teams throughout the organization. Breaking down silos increases the potential for innovative solutions that improve vehicle performance while freeing designers to create exciting new concepts. In addition, manufacturers and suppliers can share data easily and build accurate simulation models.

  • Detect product design flaws early
  • Measure the impact of design changes on performance
  • Compare design alternatives under operating conditions 
  • Reduce the cost of material by simulation-driven lightweighting 
  • Reduce or eliminate costs and time required to perform prototype testing 
  • Gain certainty that the product will pass acceptance testing



In a competitive and rapidly changing global automotive industry, manufacturers need to be able to create stunning new vehicle designs that meet stringent certification requirements and deliver a superb driving experience on the road. With the solutions offered by SIMULIA, they can bring design and engineering decisions together from the very start of the design cycle, reducing the risk associated with new styling elements by providing intuitive guidance on how design decisions will affect aerodynamic performance. Integrating engineering insights into the design process gives vehicle stylists the freedom to create innovative, aesthetically pleasing new vehicles while ensuring they meet and exceed performance goals from the start. Virtual prototyping and testing of every variant also reduce the number of physical tests required, speeding up the certification process so manufacturers can get exciting new models to market faster.

21 Oct 2022


Driving sustainability through Virtual Twin Technology, while enhancing Aerodynamic Performance with Advanced Fluid Simulation.


Volvo primarily manufactures heavy-duty trucks, buses, construction equipment, and diesel engines as well as marine applications, and like many OEMs, is beginning to produce electric vehicles also. 

In today’s connected, global economy with its streamlined supply chain, goods are transported all over the world. As they make their way to a store near us or, increasingly, to our doorsteps, they were invariably transported there by trucks, at least for some part of that journey. 

In an age of online shopping—especially in the wake of the recent COVID-19 lockdowns—trucking is critical to our daily lives. However, the transportation of goods and people today is mostly powered by fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases (GHG) when burned. In the US, the transportation sector accounted for 28% of the overall GHG emissions in 2018—and 23% of that sector emission came from medium and heavy-duty trucks [1]. This makes the trucking industry a major player in the effort to minimize tailpipe emissions of GHG. At Volvo Trucks, care for the environment is one of our core values. 


The Project

Volvo Trucks believe in sustainable transport solutions. Although electric trucks are here, they know that their widespread adoption may take some time. Therefore, in addition to Volvo’s investment in electric and hydrogen-powered trucks, they are also focused on reducing the tailpipe GHG emissions of their diesel-powered trucks, to carry society through this transition period.

Raja Sengupta is responsible for the aerodynamic certification (for CO2) of Volvo’s North American product portfolio and is in charge of aerodynamic development for the SuperTruck II project sponsored by the Department of Energy. The SuperTruck project began in 2011 with a challenge to improve freight efficiency by 50%. SuperTruck II doubled that target to 100%. Sengupta worked on the original SuperTruck, as well as the ongoing SuperTruck II project, and describes the program as the greatest opportunity of his career.

Raja’s team had three key focus areas in this project:

  • Reducing the weight of the tractor and the trailer
  • Improving the efficiency of the powertrain
  • Drastically reducing the aerodynamic drag


CFD Simulation and Digital Twin Technology Drive Innovation

To improve the aerodynamic design of their baseline required extensive experimentation. Fortunately, Volvo Trucks is an advanced user of virtual experience twin technology (also known as “digital twin” technology). This powerful combination of virtual 3D design and multi-physics CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulation allowed Raja and his team to experiment in the “Digital Wind Tunnel” with real-life accuracy, testing thousands of variations in a fraction of the time and cost that would be required for testing with physical prototypes.

Unlike physical testing, our virtual experience twin process offers detailed visual insight into the airflow around the vehicle. This is critical as it drives our iterative design process— every design change is based on learnings from the previous iteration, thereby continuously improving the aerodynamics until we reach saturation or diminishing returns. 

After hundreds of tweaks and dozens of iterations, we were able to reduce the overall aerodynamic drag of ST1 by 40%, yielding a 20% direct improvement in fuel economy. But there were indirect benefits as well.

At a cruise speed of 65mph, almost half of the road load on a tractor-trailer comes from air resistance or aerodynamic drag. Therefore, by drastically reducing the drag, we were able to downsize our engine—from a 13L 485HP in the baseline to an 11L 425HP in ST1. This reduced the weight of the tractor (thereby increasing payload and therefore, freight efficiency) and lowered the engine cooling demand from what was originally anticipated, which meant we could use a smaller cooling package. This resulted in a narrower hood, a smaller grille opening, and a much lower cooling drag. 


Project Update: Paving the road to success

On the heels of the success of ST1, the DOE initiated the Supertruck II (ST2) program in 2016 and doubled the challenge—to achieve 100% improvement over the same 2009 baseline. 

The project is still ongoing as we enter the final, build phase. However, the tractor-trailer design was frozen a while back, a culmination of a similar process as ST1 powered by the same virtual experience twin technology. This time, the team were able to reduce the overall drag by 50% over our 2009 baseline—almost 20% over ST1. MY2009 Baseline Volvo Supertruck 2. 

Supertruck is similar to a concept car; while many of the improvements already are, or soon will be, incorporated into our commercial offerings, others need more work to bring down their cost. And Supertruck II isn’t the end of the journey: they recently announced Supertruck III program will focus on battery-electric and fuel-cell-powered vehicles—the designs that will move the trucking industry from a transitional period of lower tailpipe GHG emissions to one with zero tailpipe emissions. 


Discover PowerFLOW


Using the PowerFLOW suite, engineers evaluate product performance early in the design process prior to any prototype being built — when the impact of change is most significant for design and budgets. PowerFLOW imports fully complex model geometry and accurately and efficiently performs aerodynamic, aeroacoustic and thermal management simulations.

Key Capabilities:

  • Fast automated setup: Create and import geometry, define initial & boundary conditions and choose measurements to record during simulation with this application. The intuitive, fast interface application provides an entirely automated fluid grid generation solution.
  • True rotating geometry: PowerFLOW can simulate true roating geometry to optimize performance and noise in systems, such as wheel aerodynamics, brakes, HVAC systems, cooling fans and more.
  • Coupled simulations: PowerFLOW suite has the ability to seamlessly integrate PowerTHERM surface termperature & heat fluxes technologies and PowerACOUSTICS aeroacoustic noise technologies to existing simulated designs.
  • Digital wind tunnel: The digital wind tunnel model includes static and moving ground plane modeling and boundary layer suction points to match that of real-life experimental wind tunnels.
  • Analyze designs: Upon simulation completion, PowerVIZ analyses results quickly and  PowerINSIGHT automates results analysis.
  • Rapid turnaround time: Once a surface mesh model is prepared, the same model may be used to perform additional simulations. Setup, grid generation, simulation and results analysis can be performed in less than a day.



Originally published:

[1] “Fast Facts on Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 8 June 2021, www. 

[2] Lobner, Peter. “SuperTrucks—Revolutionizing the Heavy Tractor-Trailer Freight Industry with Science.” The Lyncean Group of San Diego, 3 Apr. 2020, doe-supertruck/. 

[3] Delgado, Oscar and Nic Lutsey. “THE U.S. SUPERTRUCK PROGRAM” publications/ICCT_SuperTruck-program_20140610.pdf.

20 Oct 2022

CST Studio Suite: Design, Analyze, and Optimize Electromagnetic Components and Systems

On-Demand Webinar – Discover how you can Design, Analyze, and Optimize electromagnetic (EM) components and systems with CST Studio Suite.

As the world of Communication system design becomes increasingly more complex, and safety regulations become more stringent, ensuring the safety and reliability of antenna, microwave components, and electronics performance are crucial.

SIMULA CST Studio Suite 2022 introduces the latest developments in the SIMULIA Electromagnetics Portfolio. With solvers that span the frequency spectrum, CST Studio Suite offers a complete package for designing, analyzing, and optimizing products within a single platform. In addition to this, the latest release sees enhanced integration with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, allowing you to collaborate on designs at any time, anywhere and on any device.

This webinar provides details on the latest CST Studio Suite updates for electromagnetic Designers, and engineers.

Webinar Highlights:

  • Advanced Modeling and Post-processing
  • Antenna and Microwave Component Design
  • Human Body Models for SAR
  • Communication and Detection in Aerospace
  • Electromagnetic Compatibility and Interference
  • Vehicle Electronic Systems
  • 3DEXPERIENCE Electromagnetics Portfolio


11 Sep 2022

EVENT: DELMIA World Tour 2022



When: October 20th, 2022

Where: Waltham, USA


About the Event

Discover the next innovative step in optimizing your manufacturing and supply chain operations. Join us to hear from industry experts, experience live demos and network with industry leaders at the DELMIA World Tour 2022. 

Join us for an exciting day-long event at DELMIA World Tour 2022 as we dive into industry challenges and how DELMIA solutions power innovation, resiliency and sustainability. 

The day will include:

  • A plenary session filled with industry thought leaders and DELMIA customers 
  • Focused breakout tracks for Industrial Engineering, Planning & Optimization and Manufacturing & Operations
  • Live demos of DELMIA’s collaborative tools and solutions
  • Variety of networking opportunities

DELMIA World Tour 2022 will help prepare your company to meet both the demands of today and the challenges of tomorrow.


11 Sep 2022



This year’s virtual 3DEXPERIENCE Modeling & Simulation Conference will focus on game-changing technology from CATIASOLIDWORKS and SIMULIA, inspiring managers and leaders to design and innovate the next generation of products on one business platform.


This global virtual conference will empower attendees to truly absorb the benefits of moving to an integrated design and simulation approach that cannot be achieved with disconnected tools.


What to expect : 

  • Keynote speakers from large OEMs showcasing the benefits of modeling and simulation (MODSIM) and how it helps future-proof design strategies
  • Panel discussions with users  who are in the process of moving to a MODSIM approach
  • Demonstrations of industry workflows, putting MODSIM to the test


Who should attend?

  • Businesses wanting to improve productivity and collaboration during product development
  • Leaders interested in business sustainability and breaking down silos within the design process
  • Vice presidents, managers, and senior engineers looking for real-world examples of how to innovate and transform their operations