Volkswagen is aiming to bring its 189mpg hybrid two-seater to production by 2013. The L1 Concept is powered by an 800cc two-stroke diesel, which is coupled to an electric motor, and emits only 39g/km of CO2. It has a drag coefficient of just 0.195. The powerplant develops up to 29bhp in "sport" mode, along with 74lb ft of torque at 1900rpm.
This enables to car to reach 62mph in 14.3sec and go up to a top speed of 99mph. The 14bhp electric motor steps in under acceleration, lifting torque by 40%. The L1 concept is as low as Lamborghini's Murcielago and has the same length as the VW Fox. Its weight is kept down to 380kg due to the body made from carbonfiber-reinforced plastic.
If you step inside the L1, you'll find yourself in what looks more like an aircraft cockpit than a car. Slender carbon fiber is what's used for the adjustable front seat and the rear passenger chair is built into the monoqoque. The instrument panel is set into the body of the car and the rear-view mirror is replaced by an LED display.
The L1 takes inspiration from the 1-liter concept driven by Dr Ferdinand Piech, the chairman of the VW board, between Wolfsburg and Hamburg in 2002. VW says the production costs of carbonfiber would have been too high seven years ago but modern techniques have made selling the L1 now a possibility.