The Volkswagen 1-litre car is a two-person concept car produced by Volkswagen. The 1-litre car was designed to be able to travel 100 km on 1 litre of diesel fuel (280 mpg 240 mpg), while being both roadworthy and practical To achieve such economy, it is produced with lightweight materials, a streamlined body and an engine and transmission designed and tuned for economy. The concept car was modified first in 2009 as the L1 and again in 2011 as the XL1, with limited production of the XL1 slated to begin by late 2013.
The XL1 takes the traditional elements of speed – exotic materials, a hyper-efficient drivetrain and a wind-tunnel-honed body – to deliver the most aerodynamic, fuel-efficient vehicle in the world. And just like other supercars, it’s a rolling compromise, with barely enough space to seat two and a 12.7-second 0-to-60 mph time that makes a Prius seem like a Porsche. Volkswagen rolled into Geneva with the production version of the XL1 after more than a decade in development. The original design has evolved from a rolling Tylenol with a singular seat into an honest two-seater capable of extraordinary range. But the XL1 is not without its fair share of sacrifices at the altar of efficiency.
The compromises begin with the engine, a two-cylinder turbo diesel good for a miserly 47 horsepower. That’s mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with an electric motor sandwiched in between it and the oilburner. Drawing power from a lithium-ion battery pack, the “E-motor” is good for another 27 hp, bringing total output up to an uninspiring 74 hp.But that’s just enough grunt to get the 1,750-pound XL1 up to speed, and introduce a new stat for number junkies. To keep the XL1 cursing at a cool 62 mph, the plug-in hybrid only needs eight horsepower to maintain highway speeds. While that’s largely thanks to the XL1′s aluminum and composite structure, it’s also about cheating the wind. The XL1′s coefficient of drag is an unheard-of 0.189 (the Tesla Model S, by comparison, comes in at 0.24) and it’s 5 inches shorter than the compact Porsche Boxster. Add in covers for the rear wheels to eliminate air turbulence and replacing the side mirrors with cameras that feed video into pair of interior-mounted displays, and you’ve got the slipperiest car on the planet.
But if you’re thinking this is your next commuter, think again. Remember, the XL1 is a supercar, and that means a supercar price and supercar availability. Volkswagen is only building a scant 250 examples, each carrying a price tag of over 100,000 euros. Saving a few bucks at the pump has never been so prohibitively expensive. And you’ll also note that we’re citing the price in euros, not dollars. That’s because VW won’t be bringing the XL1 to the U.S., although the lessons learned from its hybrid technology, chassis innovations and aerodynamics will find their way down to the lowly Golf within the next few years.