Finally, something normal people clamor for at an auto show will make it into production. Volkswagen announced this week their green lighting of the XL1 concept car. The car is known as the most aerodynamic production car ever and is capable of achieving an estimated 261mpg.
The XL1 is an automotive hero that follows pure sports car design principles: low weight (1,752 lb), perfect aerodynamics (Cd 0.189) and a low center of gravity (45.39" high). This gives the efficient Volkswagen the ability to cruise on the road at a constant speed of 62mph using just 6.2 kW / 8.4hp. In all-electric mode, the XL1 requires less than 0.1 kWh to cover a driving distance of over one-half mile.
High-tech lightweight design, perfect aerodynamics and a plug-in hybrid system - consisting of a two-cylinder TDI engine (35 kW / 48hp), E-motor (20 kW / 27hp), 7-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG) and lithium-ion battery - all make it possible for the new Volkswagen XL1 to emit just 21 g/km of CO2. If necessary, the XL1, with a top speed of 99.41mph, can accelerate to 62mph in just 12.7s. Clearly, 261mpg fuel economy is a record figure that has not been achieved by any other vehicle to date, and it illustrates how Volkswagen is redefining what is technically feasible in car manufacturing.
Conceptually, the XL1 represents the third evolutionary stage of Volkswagen's 1-liter car strategy. When the new millennium was ushered in, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, who is today Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, formulated the visionary goal of bringing to market a production car that was practical in everyday use with fuel consumption of one liter per 62 miles. In the two-seat XL1, this vision has become reality. Despite the tremendous efficiency of the XL1, developers successfully came up with a body concept, which delivers more everyday utility than in the two previous prototypes. While the driver and passenger sat in a tandem arrangement for optimal aerodynamics in the L1, the 1-liter car presented in 2002 and in 2009, in the XL1 two occupants sit slightly offset, side by side, nearly as in a conventional vehicle.
The XL1 is 153.07" long, 65.55" wide and just 45.39" tall. By usual automotive standards these are extreme dimensions. For comparison: a Polo has a similar length (156.3") and width (66.22") but is significantly taller (57.56"). Even a purebred sports car like today's Porsche Boxster is 5.08" taller (50.47"). So, the XL1 will make a wonderful appearance to our drab roadways as a car of the future, built for today.