You must remember the DeltaWing experimental race car, a joint project of DeltaWing Technologies and Nissan that competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The peculiar shape of the car made it unmistakable on the racetrack, but what would you think of a similarly shaped road-going version?
DeltaWing Technologies, owned by U.S. racing titans Don Panoz and Chip Ganassi, is testing the waters for a DeltaWing for the street that would source the innovative design architecture and lightweight technologies from the racecar to achieve a fuel-efficient road car.
DeltaWing envisioned the vehicle in the shape of a street-legal, four-passenger car that will certainly not go unnoticed if ever produced. The company says the advantages of this peculiar shape are a significant reduction in aerodynamic drag and considerably less overall mass. That’s because the narrow-track front wheelbase incorporates smaller width tires, while the rear-engine design places the center of gravity far to the rear. That results in significantly less weight on the front axles, reducing rolling resistance and further increasing efficiency.
According to preliminary data, a DeltaWing for the road would be 35 percent lighter, require 35 percent less horsepower, and consume 35 percent less fuel. For example, if powered by a small displacement four-cylinder engine producing between 85 and 110 horsepower, the DeltaWing could sprint from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in about 6 seconds, hit a 130 mph (210 km/h) top speed, and average up to 70 mpg (3.36 l/100 km).
The company says the platform is suited for new generation smaller and lighter high efficiency gas or diesel powertrains, alternative fuels like compressed natural gas (CNG), or today’s and tomorrow’s hybrid and all-electric powerplants. DeltaWing wants to partner with mass-market automakers rather than manufacture independently, with the company saying that its platform could help automakers achieve the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standard of 54.5 mpg (4.3 l/100 km) by model year 2025.
By Dan Mihalascu