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Prototype 2014 Volkswagen XL1 Ultra-Efficient Car Spied Testing

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2014 Volkswagen XL1 spy shots - Image courtesy of Motor Authority

2014 Volkswagen XL1 spy shots - Image courtesy of Motor Authority

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Last year at the 2011 Qatar Motor Show, Volkswagen wooed the audience with its XL1 plug-in hybrid concept car, a vehicle it said would get an amazing 0.9 liters per 100 kilometers, or 260 mpg.

Now, a road-going prototype version of the gas-sipping two-seater has been spotted undergoing extensive road testing ahead of the production XL1’s debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

As MotorAuthority details, the spy shots show a version of the XL1 which looks remarkably close to the concept car we saw last year. 

That means the same streamlined shape, upward-opening wing doors, LED headlights and narrow wheels. 

The only things missing, as far as we can tell, are the fully-enclosed, rear wheel wells.

Being spy shots, we’ve no way to confirm that the prototype XL1 has the same plug-in hybrid drivetrain found in the concept car. 

But since it looks identical to the concept, we’d like to bet it is powered by the same 0.8-liter, twin cylinder, TDI turbodiesel engine and 20 kilowatt electric motor as last year’s concept, producing a total output of 73 horsepower.

Just like the concept we saw last year, it appears that VW has worked hard to make this prototype go as far as possible on a single drop of fuel. 

It’s no surprise then that the XL1 has such a unique, almost futuristic design, complete with kammback tail and low, road-hugging stance to help it achieve a drag coefficient of just 0.186.

Of particular interest, however, is the apparent inclusion in this particular prototype of the tiny rear-view cameras we saw in the concept car. 

With a smaller surface area than traditional rear-view mirrors, this particular prototype appears to retain the futuristic camera option, although VW may face some tough regulatory arguments around the world if it the production XL1 retains them instead of the more traditional glass option. 

VW XL-1 Diesel Hybrid Concept

VW XL-1 Diesel Hybrid Concept

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The XL1 is expected to enter into limited production in 2013 following its 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show premiere.

Whether it will arrive in the U.S. is another matter, however: although one VW executive has said the U.S. and China will follow Europe in getting the production XL1, another quoted the total production run as being around 100 units. 

Then there’s another problem. 

Americans aren’t known for their love of either diesel engines, two seat cars or small coupes. 

There is one thing for sure, however. The XL1 would certainly meet the EPA’s new gas mileage targets.

In fact, the fuel-sipping plug-in hybrid would beat them by an extra 200 mpg.

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Comments (11)
  1. Here is what I want to know. Is it better to get a 100 mpge electric car or a 260 mpg diesel ICE?
     
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  2. Good question, John. Just my guess, but I'd venture that the EV would still be the better solution, but until costs come down, the diesel ICE shown here, or even something similar, is a big step in the right direction while battery improvements come. But the whole dispute about whether diesels are really better for emissions is another matter entirely... I'll leave that debate for others, thank you.
     
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  3. For me, the big win with an EV would be solar electric charging. Seems like that offers the ultimate in clean driving.

    Short of that, a 260 MPG ICE car (even a 2 seater) seems like a great option. Of course, there is a question of price.
     
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  4. I don't think 260 MPG pure ICE car is real. That is 10 hours of driving at 26mph or 4 hours of drving at 65mph. So you are either "sipping" 0.1 gal per hour or 0.25 gallon per hour at 65mph. 0.25 is about 0.95 L/Hr at 65mph. That is 0.016L/min. 1L of diesel is about 862 grams. @ 45KJ/Gram for diesel = 620 KJ/min used/generated. But ICE is at best 35% efficient. So, 620KJ just becomes 217KJ/min or 3.6KJ/sec. That is 3.6KW! or 4.8HP

    I will be surprised to see "any" car that travel @ 65mph and only needs 4.8HP to sustain that speed. Maybe downhill the entire way...
     
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  5. I'm a little skeptical too. The very best number I have seen, from a trusted source, is 188 MPGe in the X-prize for the electric E-Tracer. That is a two seat tandem vehicle.
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  6. So, let us clear something up here. Is the 260MPG the figure taken with the "plug in" part included or purely on diesel? I seriously doubt that it is purely on diesel. They will be lucky to get anything close to "half" of that amount in the real world driving environment.

    A typical good EV is lucky to get about 5 mi/KWh (260mpg is about 7.6mi/KWh). If 1 gallon of gas is equal to 34 KWh in energy, then a good EV will be lucky to get 170 mpge. I seriously doubt that any ICE will do better than that since its efficiency is limited to the low 30s (%) while the Electric motors are in the high 90s (%). Of course, you can always build a "cage over bike". Solar sun race build more efficient cars, but it is NOT practical to drive them.
     
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  7. Very few 50cc or less motor-scooters can get that kind of mileage and they weigh 200 lbs. Must include the electric battery as well. As it was: "The concept car was said to get 260mpg" - presumably in the lab or on paper.
     
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  8. Wondered about that too. Looks like we have to take VW's word on it for the moment.

    The only thing I find slightly weird is that the first couple of prototypes didn't have an electric only mode and still claimed to be 1 liter. So presumably they got 260 MPG with no electricity from the grid.

    But the last version was switch from tandem seating to side-by-side, presumably increasing drag significantly, and added electric only mode.
     
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  9. nope..my skoda octavia easily does 5 l / 100 km ...this is diesel only.. that is no volt , i mean it is no dazzler...
     
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  10. That is about 46mpg... (5L/100KM)
     
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  11. Reminds me of my 2002 Honda Insight... streamlined and efficient. I **love** driving my Insight (I put about 50K a year on it)... and getting 65-75mpg (hwy/city).
     
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