Porsche Patent Shows Research On An Active Rear Diffuser

Illustration for article titled Porsche Patent Shows Research On An Active Rear Diffuser

Porsches have had active aero elements since 1989, when the Porsche 964s were equipped with an electrically-activated rear wing, a feature nearly all 911s have had since. A new patent suggests that all those bits under the bumper may be getting jealous, as the patent covers an active rear diffuser setup.

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The patent, first spotted by Carscoops, was filed back in September of 2016, but was published yesterday. The system describes a

“rear-end diffuser arrangement for a motor vehicle that has at least one flap mounted on a body part of the motor vehicle so as to be movable by at least one drive device.”

The design of the rear diffuser’s movable flap has a concavely curved surface so that when not in use, it blends seamlessly back into the lower rear bodywork.

This one reminds me of the old behind-the-license plate fuel fillers
This one reminds me of the old behind-the-license plate fuel fillers

Porsche seems to have chosen a rear-mounted active aero system over a more conventional underbody system because they seem to feel that underbody systems are

... highly cumbersome with regard to installation and integration in the underbody region.

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Interestingly, the drawings do not just show installation of such a setup on just sports or racing cars; the side view is specifically described as being on an SUV, and specific mention is made of the need for exhaust cutouts in the flaps, but also that full-width flaps could be used for electric vehicles.

Porsche says that’ an SUV ass
Porsche says that’ an SUV ass
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So, whatever Porsche is thinking of doing with this, this patent suggests it won’t be limited to their racing program or just their sports cars.

In the patent, Porsche says a rear-end diffuser can

“significantly improve road grip, particularly during lateral acceleration maneuvers.”

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They also say, helpfully,

“More detailed explanations of regarding the manner in which a diffuser operates is provided in the teachings of Newton and Bernoulli, which are available on the internet.”

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Gee, thanks, Porsche. I won’t waste time pawing through that old stack of World Books.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

DISCUSSION

I’m torn.

Part of me thinks the incremental performance value is, at best, in no way significant enough to warrant the added cost and complexity.

The other part of me thinks they look hella-cool. (This is the same part of me that likes frosting on my cereal.)