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.
Volkswagen XL1 claims to be the world’s most fuel-efficient production car, with a 0.9 l/100-km fuel consumption value. And thanks to a plug-in hybrid system, it can cover up to a 50-km distance in all-electric mode, which also means zero local emissions.
Moreover, the two-seater is an automotive hero following exclusive sports car design principles. Specifically, it has low weight of 795 kg, a low center of gravity at 1,153-mm high, and perfect aerodynamics with a drag coefficient of Cd 0.189. These enable the efficient VW to cruise at constant speed (100 km/h with only 6.2 kW / 8.4 PS.) In pure electric mode, the VW XL1 needs less than 0.1 kWh in order to cover an over 1km driving distance.
A plug-in hybrid system, perfect aerodynamics, and a high-tech lightweight design, enable the new VW XL1 to emit only 21 g/km of CO2. The plug-in hybrid system consists of a 2-cylinder TDI engine (35 kW / 48 PS), an E-motor (20 kW / 27 PS), a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox, and a lithium-ion battery pack. If necessary, the new XL1 can accelerate up to 100 km/h in only 12.7 seconds, with a 160-km/h top speed. Clearly, the car’s 0.9 l/100-km fuel consumption hasn’t been achieved or surpassed yet by another vehicle and continues to be a recordit holds. This illustrates how VW is redefining what’s technically feasible when it comes to car production.
Conceptually, the XL1 represents the VW 1-liter car strategy’s third evolutionary stage. At the start of the new millennium, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, Chairman of the Volkswagen AG Supervisory Board, formulated the company’s visionary goal of bringing a practical everyday use production car with a 1L/100-km fuel consumption to the market. This vision has come into reality with the two-seat XL1.