Scoop: Volkswagen's Super-Efficient XL1 Diesel-Electric Hybrid Getting Ready for Production

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Volkswagen is moving ahead with the development of the production version of the XL1 Super Efficient Vehicle (SEV) diesel-electric hybrid concept, which we first laid eyes on at the 2011 Qatar Motor Show

Set to be one of the most radical production cars ever to wear the Volkswagen badge, the XL1 was confirmed for launch late last year by VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn. "We will start small series production by 2013 – in Germany," he told reporters.

Our spies captured two prototypes of the XL1 on separate occasions while testing in Spain. The only difference between them was that one vehicle was fitted with exterior mirrors and had an unpainted body.

The styling of both the exterior and interior has remained true to the concept, including the 'Gullwing' style doors – though, both prototypes were missing the rear wheel cover and were fitted with different rims for testing purposes.

The production model's exterior dimension should mirror those of the concept at 3,888mm long, 1,665mm wide and just 1,156mm tall. Inside, the XL1 has enough room for two passengers up front.

The vehicle makes use of lightweight materials such as magnesium, ceramics, aluminum and CFRP, to keep the curb weight down to just 795 kg (1,752 pounds).

Power is provided by hybrid system comprising a 47hp (48PS) 0.8-liter turbocharged twin-cylinder diesel and 27HP electric motor that produce a combined output of 74HP (75PS).

A seven-speed DSG gearbox with an automatic clutch mounted between the diesel engine and eclectic motor drives the rear wheels of the car.

In concept form, VW said that the electric motor could work either independently of the TDI engine or in tandem when accelerating - something we don't see changing on the launch model.

According to the automaker, in pure electric mode, the XL1 can reach a top speed of up to 35 km (22 mph) before the diesel engine kicks in. Accelerating from rest to 100km/h (62 mph) comes in 11.9 seconds, while the electronically limited top speed is 160 km/h (99 mph) – keep in mind that all these performance numbers are for the concept and not for the final production model.

Volkswagen had said at the time that the XL1 study returns a fuel consumption of just 0.9 lt/100 km, equal to 261 mpg US and 313 mpg UK while emitting a mere 24 g/km of CO2.