Launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show recently was Volkswagen's L1 concept, a 189mpg hybrid two-seater that is expected to arrive in showrooms by 2013. It has a drag coefficient of 0.195 and is powered by an 800cc two-stroke diesel, coupled to an electric motor. It emits just 39g/km of CO2. In sport mode, the powerplant develops up to 29bhp, along with 74lb ft of torque at 1900rpm.
The car can reach top speed of 99mph while acceleration from 0-62mph takes 14.3sec. The 14bhp electric motor steps in under acceleration, lifting torque by 40%.
Total weight is kept down to 380kg due to its body made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. It has the same length as VW Fox but it is as low as Lamborghini's Murcielago. It is believed to be launched as a production at around 2013.
Inside the car is what looks more like an aircraft cockpit. The adjustable front seat is made from slender carbonfiber and the rear passenger chair is built into the monoqoque. Set into the body of the car is the instrument panel and an LED display replaces the rear-view mirror.
The L1 reportedly gets its inspiration from the 1-liter concept driven by Dr Ferdinand Piech, the chairman of the VW board from Wolfsburg and Hamburg in 2002. Production costs of carbonfiber were judged to be too high seven years ago but with current modern techniques, selling the L1 is now a possibility.