As Opel looks to increase the range and fuel economy and reduce the emissions of its gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles, it will begin to implement more innovative solutions designed to improve efficiency. The Russelsheim-based automaker says the next step in this strategy is to complete development of its active full-face shutter, which they recently unveiled at the largest automotive technology congress in Europe, Aachen Colloquium.
The full-face active aeroshutter improves fuel efficiency by closing its shutters when air cooling is least needed. When closed, the shutters redirect airflow around the grille and down the sides of the vehicle, reducing drag. The system knows when to open or close the shutters based on the engine coolant temperature and the vehicle’s speed.
“The full-face active shutter perfectly suits our exciting, approachable, German brand character”, said Martin Holzhofer, Opel’s CO2 engineering director. “It is the first in a series of new highly efficient, affordable technologies with which we aim to cut further the emissions and fuel consumption of our future automobiles.”
Opel introduced a partially-active aeroshutter in 2010, which successfully cut emissions of its Astra ecoflex and Zafira Tourer. This new system differs in that it is full-face, meaning both the upper and lower parts of the grille will actively open and close based on the levels of cooling required at a given time. In the existing shutter system, only the bottom tier of the front grille will open and close. Opel says the new aeroshutter can cut total drag by ten percent and can cut fuel consumption by up to five percent at 130 km/h (80 mph).
Apart from aerodynamic benefits, the aeroshutter also improves fuel consumption by delaying the cooling down of the engine after switching it off, or by accelerating the warm up of the engine after a cold start, which is especially beneficial in winter weather.
Opel says engineers will have to take into account styling, packaging, pedestrian safety ratings, engine and transmission types and many other factors before implementing the full-face aeroshutter in its vehicles. You may not have to wait too much longer before you see it on a production vehicle though, with Opel planning to introduce the technology in the “near term.”