TechnologyTell

How Technology Is Changing Automotive Styling

Sections: Chassis, Powertrain

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When we talk about technology here in the automotive world, we are generally referring to gizmo features, infotainment systems or the technology that makes a car safer or more fuel efficient. But technology is also having an impact in the styling of vehicles today as well as those of tomorrow.

2013 Ford Fusion Energi

Ford’s 2013 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid is the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in America. (Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company.)

In days past, vehicles were built with separate bodies sitting on a ladder-frame chassis. Engineering technology was concentrated on the chassis and powertrain while the automotive stylists had free reign over the appearance of the vehicle body and interior.

Today, unibody designs, where the chassis and body are integrated together as one unit, mean automaker’s stylists have to work with the canvas dictated by engineers. But as Stephen Edelstein points out in his article for DigitalTrends.com, that doesn’t stop car makers from designing good looking cars.

“Automotive styling has always been a matter of taste, but like the more objective categories of automotive excellence, it changes with times and technology. Advancements in aerodynamics and materials, safety regulations, and the ever-increasing amount of tech we expect in cars is changing the way they look,” Edelstein writes.

“For better or worse, technology is having a major affect on automotive styling. Whether it’s the push of safety equipment or the pull of alternative powertrains and their flexible packaging, interior ergonomics or flashy displays, the tech underneath the skin is defining its shape,” Edelstein added. “On top of all that, car designers still have to make sure their creations are pleasing to the eye.”

Read Stephen Edelstein’s full article about automotive styling dictated by technology here.

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