The GTU: A New Realistic Generic Pickup Truck and SUV Model 2020-01-0664
Traditionally, ground vehicle aerodynamics has been researched with highly simplified models such as the Ahmed body and the SAE model. These models established and advanced the fundamental understanding of bluff body aerodynamics and have generated a large body of published data, however, their application to the development of passenger vehicles is limited by the highly idealized nature of their geometries. To date, limited data has been openly published on aerodynamic investigations of production vehicles, most likely due to the proprietary nature of production vehicle geometry. In 2012, Heft et al. introduced the realistic generic car model ‘DrivAer’ that better represents the flow physics associated with a typical production vehicle. The introduction of the DrivAer model has led to a broad set of published data for both experimental and computational investigations and has proven itself invaluable as a correlation and calibration tool of wind tunnels, the validation of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codes and increasing the understanding of the fundamental flow physics around passenger vehicles.
Automotive sales trends in the United States, published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2018, indicate that sales of Pickup Trucks (PUs) and Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) have increased over the past 10 years and are outselling sedans at a rate just over two to one. Compared to sedans, PU and SUV body styles pose additional aerodynamic challenges due to their complex wake structures. The introduction of a realistic generic PU and SUV model as an open access tool is expected to yield benefits to the wider community, equivalent to those of the DrivAer passenger vehicle. This paper introduces the Generic Truck Utility (GTU) as a realistic, generic PU truck and interchangeable SUV model. The paper will focus on the design and development of the GTU and will present a summary of preliminary experimental results of the GTU complemented by numerical simulations using iconCFD®, an open source based CFD solver.