The fourth generation of the Skoda Fabia is more aerodynamically sophisticated than ever before and like no other model in its vehicle class.
With its emotionally and dynamically drawn shape, the new FABIA achieves a drag coefficient of only 0.28 CW and thus significantly undercuts the value of its predecessor (0.32 CW). The excellent aerodynamic efficiency is achieved by a variety of detailed measures such as a clever radiator blind with active fins and contributes to the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions. When developing the aerodynamics of the FABIA, ŠKODA used more than 3,000 so-called CFD simulations, the results of which were checked and refined during test drives.
Vít Hubáček, responsible for the aerodynamic development of the Skoda Fabia, states: "Although the new FABIA is larger than its predecessor – its frontal area has grown by about three per cent – we have reduced its drag coefficient by almost ten per cent. This alone reduces CO2 emissions by almost three grams per kilometre in the WLTP test cycle. We carried out more than 3,000 aerodynamic tests, about 80 per cent of them virtually with the help of CFD simulations on a supercomputer. A normal PC would take more than 2,000 years to make the corresponding calculations."
The result of the aerodynamic development of the new Skoda Fabia is a drag coefficient of 0.28 CW. The fourth-generation thus significantly undercuts its direct predecessor (0.32 CW) and, at the same time, sets a new record in the small car segment. Furthermore, the outstanding aerodynamics of the new Skoda Fabia make a significant contribution to reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Experts from several departments – such as designers, aeroacoustics and engineers for the body, underbody and engines – worked together to develop the aerodynamics. ŠKODA has also combined virtual tests with computer simulations and real test drives. The main purpose of the test drives was to check and confirm the results of the simulations.
Tens of thousands of computing hours.
The aerodynamics department of Skoda Auto worked essentially virtually during the development of the new Fabia. Since the optimisation of vehicle aerodynamics is very complex, and every small change can have numerous effects in other areas, the engineers used high-performance computers to run through as many variants as possible virtually using so-called CFD simulations (Computational Fluid Dynamics). They calculated more than 3,000 of these flow simulations within about three and a half years, which took tens of thousands of hours of computing time. The importance of aerodynamics has increased significantly in the automotive industry in recent years, and this area is becoming increasingly important due to stricter emission guidelines. Skoda Auto has, therefore, greatly expanded its staff and expertise in this area.
Radiator blind reduces fuel consumption at 120 km/h by up to 0.2 litres per 100 kilometres.
Numerous details of the new Skoda Fabia contribute to the best aerodynamics in its class. An important measure is the innovative radiator blind in the lower air intake of the front bumper, which is being used for the first time in this vehicle class with the FABIA. With low cooling requirements, the active fins close and thus improve aerodynamics. At a constant speed of 120 km/h, this enables fuel savings of up to 0.2 l/100 km. The Skoda Fabia thus emits up to five grams less CO2 per kilometre driven. In case of high cooling requirements or shortstops, the system opens the fins to allow the maximum amount of air to flow in. In addition, numerous components ensure optimum air resistance. At the front of the vehicle, the airflow is guided by recesses in the front bumper, so-called air curtains, aerodynamically particularly favourably on the side close to the body and the wheels. Under the vehicle, an underbody now covered with twelve instead of three covers optimises the airflow. Combined with the long roof spoiler and lateral finlets, this reduces the air turbulence behind the vehicle, the so-called rear trailing. Furthermore, the shape of the exterior mirrors directs the air specifically to the tear-off edges on the rear lights. Since the wheels alone generate around 25 per cent of the air resistance, ŠKODA is also using special plastic inserts for the FABIA for the first time to optimise the aerodynamics of the light-alloy wheels.
Aerodynamic development was mainly carried out with CFD simulations.