The Volkswagen XL1 Super Efficient Vehicle (SEV) concept, unveiled at the Qatar Motor Show, features pioneering construction techniques, an advanced plug-in hybrid drivetrain and innovative packaging. The result is an estimated 260 mpg, a benchmark for vehicle efficiency.
Powering the XL1 is a compact 800cc TDI two-cylinder common rail diesel engine developing 47 hp. It’s linked to an electric motor producing 27 horsepower, resulting in a total of 74 horsepower. It’s a modest output, but more than sufficient considering car weighs only 1,753 pounds.
The TDI engine is linked to an electric motor and a seven-speed DSG gearbox with an automatic clutch mounted between each unit. The electric motor can either work independently of the TDI engine or in tandem when accelerating.
The XL1 is an extension previous VW concepts — the 1-Litre car (2002) and the L1 concept (2009). The XL1 features staggered driver and front passenger in a strong but lightweight structure made from Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) parts on the car called the Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process and weighing only 507 pounds.
The XL1 styling features scissor doors that hinge on the A-pillar and with a profile honed in a wind tunnel, the result a coefficient of drag figure of 0.186.
The XL1’s overall length and width are similar to the VW Polo, while its height is similar to Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder.
Volkswagen predicts production of the XL1 by 2013.
Article Last Updated: August 22, 2021.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.