The Tesla Model 3 seeks to hit the market in late 2017 with what should be a class-leading 215-mile range and improbable $35,000 price — but how? Aerodynamics, that's how. When the Model 3 was announced, Tesla CEO Elon Musk indicated that they were shooting for an obscenely low drag coefficient of 0.21 — the Model S is already quite low at 0.24 Cd. But light materials like aluminum and purposeful aerodynamics could get the most out of the car's sub-60kWh battery.

The oh-so-very aerodynamic Tesla Model 3

Exa, a company that specializes in digital simulation software, provides the PowerFLOW software that Tesla uses for their car design. They did their own analysis of the Model 3, based on what's been publicly revealed, and pointed out a few key points to Inside EVs on how Tesla's designed to minimize drag:

  • A closed front end and even minimal dimensional graphics for an uninterrupted wedge shape
  • Turbine blade-style wheels to direct air underneath the car body (the underside is presumed to be smooth, like the Model S and Model X)
  • No active aerodynamic devices, reducing cost and weight (the Model X employs an active spoiler)
  • Lower fender air curtains to reduce airflow over the wheels

While Tesla still has a lot to unveil about the Model 3, Musk says the design is more or less set, with only minor tweaking expected between now and the end-of-2017 start of production.