Ford F150 Achieves Aerodynamic Quality With ‘Air Curtains’

Lineup of trucks needs attribution Drifting Light _ Shutterstock

The improved gas mileage of the 2015 Ford F150 isn’t the only thing that makes this vehicle unique. Ford integrated things called “air curtains” that take this huge, heavy truck and somehow make it aerodynamic.

The air curtains consist of horizontal slots underneath the headlights that help smooth out airflow over the entire truck. This happens by channeling airflow through ducting in the wheel wells. After that, the air is released over the outer surfaces of the front wheels.

The air curtains ultimately work to reduce any drag created by spinning wheels. While the easiest solution would be to cover the wheels in skirts, Ford decided that these air curtains could produce the same effect with a wall of high-speed air. 

This feature was first used on the Ford Mustang sports coupe and convertible and is currently used on the BMW X5 luxury SUV. A massive F150 truck trudging through the mountains of Utah may seem to be a bit of an outsider in comparison. However, the air curtains manage to work just as well on such a giant contraption.

The F150 also includes other aerodynamic qualities such as a flush-mounted windshield, a tailgate top that can act as a spoiler, taillights that channel air so it reduces turbulence and a narrower cargo box than the cab.

Together, these features work together to make the impossible possible. Gone are the days of driving a truck and expecting it to drag along any given highway in Utah due to its excessive mass. The F150 offers the perks of a truck with the qualities of a smaller, more aerodynamic car.

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