This year, Volkswagen’s XL1 two-seater will have a limited production. At the same time, it will serve as a technology demonstrator and test bed for other the other models under the Volkswagen Group. Claimed to be the most frugal and most aerodynamically efficient production car ever built, the XL1 is powered by a two-cylinder diesel engine mated to an electric motor to have a fuel economy rating of 313mpg and a CO2 emissions level of 21g/km.
This engine helps to make a new powertrain for plug-in hybrid cars based on VW’s MQB architecture, which include the Golf and A3 hybrids.
Volkswagen has upgraded the design and layout of the XL1’s powertrain to feature a four-cylinder engine and a more powerful six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with an output of up to 300lb ft, and equipped with a 9kWh battery. The A3 hybrid that’s expected to arrive in 2014 is the first car to receive the powertrain.
However, it will be seen in the first production cars that will come out later this year. On just electric power, it’s estimated to have a 30-mile range. VW’s research and development chief Ulrich Hackenberg asserts that it can return between 177mpg and 188mpg.
A month later, the Golf hybrid will appear and it will be badged Twin Drive. It is considerably heavier than a standard car by about 200kg partly because of the batteries and motor and its more sizeable crash structure to guard the battery. Nevertheless, Hackenberg claims that this car can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 7.5sec.