Santa’s next-generation sleigh revealed

Christmas future: This aerodynamic sleigh could speed Santa and his reindeer on their way.

Christmas future: This aerodynamic sleigh could speed Santa and his reindeer on their way. - Credit: supplied

Santa Claus has parked up his sleigh for another year but this could be his transport in the future. The University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) has come up with a render of an improved sleigh for Father Christmas.

After analysing the aerodynamic qualities of Santa's wagon, the team at UCLAN decided to optimise the vehicle for economy. Improvements were made to the shape and size of the sleigh, as well as materials used.

An aerodynamic carbon fibre body is the most striking change along with aluminium runners. The students claim the next-generation sleigh will reduce the strain placed on Santa's reindeers and could reduce his journey time – 32 hours to travel to every house on the planet – by up to three hours.

Reuben Taylor, first year mechanical engineer at UCLAN, said: 'We've been working on our own ultra-efficient vehicle for next year's Shell Eco-marathon, when we realised how inefficient Santa's sleigh actually is.'

The Shell Eco-marathon is a regular competition in which teams of engineers devise ultra-low fuel consumption vehicles which compete to go the furthest with the least fuel. The UCLAN team hopes to enter a vehicle when the Eco-marathon comes to London in June. The current record, set using hydrogen, is equivalent to 15,000mpg in a petrol engine.

Tony Broad, UCLAN lecturer and project leader, said: 'The first thing that stood out to us was the really high levels of drag. There's a big area where turbulent air circles around the sleigh and recirculates behind it, and that makes it harder for him to move forward. Do you know how much Christmas spirit he must waste each year?'