The radical two-seater model is dubbed the most fuel-efficient production car in the world returning an amazingly low fuel consumption of 0.9 l/100 km, which is the equivalent of 261 mpg US and 313mpg UK, with CO2 emission of just 21g/km. As with other European plug-in hybrid models, these value includes the constant use of the electric motor.
So, how does the XL1 achieve such an impressive fuel economy? For starters, there’s the plug-in hybrid powertrain that comprises a 0.8-liter two-cylinder TDI diesel engine rated at 47hp (48PS), an electric motor delivering 20kW (27HP or 27PS), a 7-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission and a lithium-ion battery.
Then we have its compact dimensions at 3,888 mm long, 1,665 mm wide and just 1,153 mm tall, its super slippery body made in part from carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) with a Cd rating of just 0.189 (the latest Prius has a Cd of 0.25), and its lightweight construction with a kerb weight of only 795 kg or 1,753 pounds.
VW claims the XL1 can hit a restricted top speed of 160 km/h (100mph) and accelerate to 100 km/h (62mph) in a respectful 12,7 seconds.
Unlike the tandem seating position of VW’s first 1-litre concept cars presented in 2002 and in 2009, in the XL1, two occupants sit slightly offset, side by side, almost like as in a conventional vehicle.
Among other notable highlights are the XL1’s gullwing-style doors, the use of cameras instead of exterior and interior mirrors projecting surroundings in LCD screens, and the ability to travel around 30 miles on a single battery charge.
Volkswagen hasn’t announced pricing and availability details yet, but it is widely believed that the Germans will offer the XL1 as a lease car in limited numbers.