Volkswagen has announced today ( Feb.21, 2013) that it will in fact produce their much anticipated concept car that combines a 1 liter compact engine with a hybrid power train on a lightweight aerodynamic chassis to that is capable of achieving 261 MPG.
The year was 2002 and V.W. Executive Ferdiand Piech made his way to his annual meeting of stockholders from Wolfsburg Germany to Hamburg, a total of 137 miles in a revolutionary designed concept car that amazed journalists and shareholders that combined a 1 liter engine with a tandem seating positioned chassis. Fast forward to 2007 where during the Frankfurt Autoshow, Piech announced that this new high mileage concept car would be available by the end of the decade. Now 7 years later, Piech has delivered on his promise and is ready to lease to the public the Volkswagen XL1.
V.W. describes the inspiration behind its design to be "sports car like principles". First, the XL1 has an overall drag coefficient of .18, when it comes out it, it will be the most aerodynamic vehicle on the road ( by comparison, the Mercedes 250 CLA achieves a drag co. of .23). At just over 1700 total pounds it’s one of the lightest cars soon to be on the road. Combine low weight, wind cheating body design, a tandem seating position and a low center of gravity, and the XL1 can cruise on just 8.4 HP.
Powering the XL1 will be a .9 liter Turbo Diesel making just 48 HP. Combined to that will be an E-Motor with an additional 28HP. Mesh those two power trains to a 7 speed dual clutch transmission and the XL1 achieves a MPG rating of one liter of gas per 100 KMH or 261 MPG!
I have to admit, when I saw concept pictures of the XL1, I never thought anything of it. In fact I chalked it up to another clever concept that will never see production, now that the XL1 is being made, I give much respect to V.W. on delivering on their promise.