The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco will owe, in part, its estimated 40 MPG on the highway to its innovative design.
Greg Fadler, aerodynamics engineering group manager at Chevrolet, said in a press release, the front grill and air shutter system of the Cruze Eco uses sensors to feel and sense wind and temperature conditions. The senors allow the car to change shape and cut through the air more smoothly.
At high speeds, the shutters stay closed to reduce drag. At lower speeds, the shutters open to maximize engine-cooling air flow.
The Cruze Eco's cooling systems was put to the standard GM test by pulling a trailer up a grade in Death Valley. The shutter allows for significantly improved fuel economy, while still providing the cooling needed in that extreme case.
"The real fun of the job is when we discover something new or innovative that allows us to do something better than we or our competition has done before," Fadler said.