Volkswagen has been evolving its superefficient-vehicle concept since the 1-Litre car debuted in 2002, and the XL1 concept is the most recent variation on that theme. The Volkswagen XL1 Concept combines a two cylinder TDI engine, electric motor, lithium-ion battery pack and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to achieve an staggering 0.9L/100 km, or just over 260 mpg.
Since it is designed as a plug-in hybrid, the XL1 prototype can also be driven for up to 21 miles (35 km) in pure electric mode, with zero emissions at point of use. The battery can be charged from a conventional household electric outlet. Naturally, battery regeneration is also employed to recover energy while slowing down and store as much of it as possible in the battery for re-use. In this case, the electric motor acts as an electric generator.
Volkswagen has achieved a 1,700-lb (795 kg) curb weight by using carbon fiber, magnesium, ceramics, and aluminum to shave down any excess portliness from the XL1, while wind-tunnel testing and optimizations have resulted in a rather exemplary 0.186 drag coefficient.
Performance figures for the XL1 are very respectable given the claimed 47 hp for the TDI engine and 27 hp for electric motor. A jaunt to 62.1 mph should require about 11.9 seconds, and cruising at that speed requires only 8.3 hp. For reference, a Golf 1.6 TDI requires almost 18 hp to maintain a 62-mph cruising speed.
Despite being a very efficient car, the XL1 features a pretty impressive design, inspired by the latest Volkswagen design language. The Volkswagen XL1 is 3,888 mm long, 1,665 mm wide, and just 1,156 mm tall. It features a very low profile similar to high performance cars.
The concept also gets wing doors hinged at two points just like a sports car: low on the A-pillars and just above the windscreen in the roof frame. While the profile is similar to the L1 concept, the XL1 has a more dynamic appearance, with a typical radiator grille, electrically controlled air intakes, new headlamps with LED technology, and fully covered rear wheels to prevent air turbulence.
The Volkswagen XL1 is making its debut at the Qatar Motor Show this week, and while it might look familiar to previous iterations, this latest version is more production read than its predecessors. This is just a concept form, but rumors say Volkswagen will actually bring a production version by 2013.