General Motors' full-size pickup trucks may be next in line to get thermostatically controlled louvers behind the grille to improve aerodynamics. SRG Global, which produces a variety of components for numerous manufacturers, is developing just such a system for GM's trucks. Similar systems will debut later this year on the Chevrolet Cruze and later on the new Ford Focus.
One of the biggest sources of aerodynamic drag and turbulence comes from the air flowing through the engine compartment. Closing off the grille to limit such airflow can drastically reduce this drag. However, the engine still needs air for cooling, especially at lower speeds. At higher speeds, the increased air velocity means less open area is required to get adequate cooling air. Thermostatically controlled slats monitor coolant temperatures and then open or close as needed. SRG's new designs will integrate the slats into the grille structure, reducing the cost of the system and making assembly simpler. Eventually, all vehicles will likely use similar active airflow technologies.