Skip Navigational linksEAST Lab -  University of Michigan
Site Map  | Links | Acknowledgements 
DFE World: Design & the Global Environment
Photograph of Nature
 Vehicle Design
Air Quality Model

Vehicle Design Module

Vehicle Design Module

You are asked to assume the role of a Chief Engineer assigned to redesign the Saturn SL1, categorized as a small car.  Your team will create a new product design based on based on overall vehicle shape, body/component material selection, and powertrain options.  After you select your new vehicle configuration, please press the “submit” button at the bottom to output your new vehicle fuel economy and emission levels. 

Vehicle performance has been determined using ADvance VehIcle SimulatOR software (ADVISOR 2002).  Once you’ve determined your vehicle emissions, keep the pop-up results window open to use for the Air Quality Model to see how a fleet of your new vehicle would affect the air quality within the central campus of the University of Michigan.

Drag Coefficient

CD = 0.285
Scenario: Your Marketing Director reports that consumers dislike the amount of wind noise and top end performance of the current Saturn. In addition, the company looks at the Saturn vehicle line to improve the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (C.A.F.E) values across its entire vehicle fleet as “gas guzzling” SUV sales are at an all-time high. Therefore, this design employs underbody panels, integrated rearview mirrors with the body, and an overall smooth design. This streamlined design reduces the amount of turbulent flow, which contributes to less wind noise and a decrease in drag, resulting in this drag coefficient of 0.285.

CD = 0.335
Scenario: (Current Saturn Model) Your design budget is minimal, therefore, the current Saturn body will be retained for the new model.

CD = 0.385
Scenario: Your company is moving towards a more retro/edgier look to its vehicles. This style complements the “big & bold” SUV image as your company’s truck and SUVs are obtaining their sales goals and driving the company to profitability. While this design appeals to a certain sales demographic, the edgy design creates many areas of turbulent flow and surface friction which creates wind noise and drag, leading to a drag coefficient value of 0.385.

Vehicle Weight

2625 lbs
Scenario: (Current Saturn Model) Due to your limited engineering budget, most of the parts in the new model will be carryover from the current model.

2375 lbs
Scenario: Your CEO has made a promise to the general public to decrease vehicle weight by 10% for all vehicle lines. This is achieved by using an aluminum engine block and transmission (vs. steel), and a vehicle chassis composed of ultra light high strength steels to replace the underbody’s outdated bulky design.

2125 lbs
Scenario: Your directors demand that the new Saturn cuts its overall weight by 500 lbs. This is crucial so that your company is compliant to national fuel economy standards. To achieve this 500 save in weight, your team of engineers makes full use of plastics for the vehicle interior, composites in the body panels, and substitutes Magnesium and Aluminum for many parts of the powertrain and chassis wherever possible.

Vehicle Powertrain

Saturn Supersport Edition
Scenario: To appeal to sports car enthusiasts, you have been asked to create a product that achieves a 25% increase in engine horsepower. This engine churns out 159 hp with a 5-speed manual transmission.

Manual Transmission Saturn
Scenario: Customer surveys report that engine performance and reliability are the biggest plusses for the Saturn line, therefore the current powertrain is being carried over into the new model. This engine outputs 97 hp.

Automatic Transmission Saturn
Scenario: Similarly, the current powertrain is being carried over into the new model. This engine outputs 97 hp.

Gas/Electric Hybrid Saturn
Scenario: Your company is wants to have a “environmentally friendly” public image and a hybrid electric vehicle accomplishes this. A smaller 40 hp engine coupled with a 58 hp motor achieve an output of 98 hp.

Fuel Cell Saturn
Scenario: Your company esteems to pioneer this technology and has asked you to develop a fuel cell powered concept vehicle. This motor outputs 79 hp.

Diesel Saturn
Scenario: The Saturn vehicle line has been purchased by a European based company. Therefore, the future of the Saturn model lies within the well proven diesel engine that is prevalent across all auto companies in Europe.

Diesel/Electric Hybrid Saturn
Scenario: The Saturn was purchased by a European company that is the global leader in eco-friendly automotive designs. Therefore, the future Saturn model will optimize fuel efficiency by using a diesel hybrid electric engine.