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Journal Article

A Drag Coefficient for Test Cycle Application

The drag coefficient at zero yaw angle is the single parameter usually used to define the aerodynamic drag characteristics of a passenger car. However, this is usually the minimum drag condition and will, for example, lead to an underestimate of the effect of aerodynamic drag on fuel consumption because the important influence of the natural wind has been excluded. An alternative measure of aerodynamic drag should take into account the effect of nonzero yaw angles and a variant of wind-averaged drag is suggested as the best option. A wind-averaged drag coefficient (CDW) is usually derived for a particular vehicle speed using a representative wind speed distribution. In the particular case where the road speed distribution is specified, as for a drive cycle to determine fuel economy, a relevant drag coefficient can be derived by using a weighted road speed.