Volkswagen has finally taken the official wraps off the XL1 prototype, the development of which has been the driving force behind the Volkswagen Group’s astonishing advancements in fuel efficiency.
The space-age two-seat concept is set for a limited production run of 250 units, but it is not yet clear to what extent the design will need to be modified prior to production to improve day-to-day usability.
The shape is designed to be as aerodynamic as possible, which is also why the rear wheels are enclosed. Air flows over the XL1’s slippery lines extremely efficiently and helps to attain startling fuel economy figures. Low weight of 795kg also helps, thanks to extensive use of carbon fibre and composites.
However, the XL1 is more than double the weight of its predecessor, the L1, with safety equipment taking a particularly heavy toll on the potential efficiency.
With an electric motor and a range-extending 0.83-litre twin-cylinder diesel engine working together the XL1 is capable of 314mpg and 21g/km of CO2 - so owners would be safe from road tax threshold changes for quite some time.
It puts its total of around 60bhp down through an efficient seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, achieving a top speed of 100mph.
As a ‘parallel’ plug-in hybrid the engine and motor can independently provide forward motion, or otherwise they can work together to give maximum acceleration or just a torque boost when travelling uphill.
This hybrid drivetrain, albeit in expanded form, will first be installed to the Golf BlueMotion TwinDrive in 2014.