Automotive

VW shows 170 mpg tandem diesel hybrid two-seater

VW shows 170 mpg tandem diesel...
Feather-light and with miniscule drag, the Volkswagen L1 will be the most fuel-efficient car made
Feather-light and with miniscule drag, the Volkswagen L1 will be the most fuel-efficient car made
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Feather-light and with miniscule drag, the Volkswagen L1 will be the most fuel-efficient car made
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Feather-light and with miniscule drag, the Volkswagen L1 will be the most fuel-efficient car made
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Volkswagen rocked the automotive world at a lunchtime press conference on the first day of the Frankfurt Motor Show with a carbon fiber, half width, 1-liter hybrid electric diesel tandem two-seater car named the L1. When the car makes production in 2013, four years from now, it will almost certainly be the most fuel efficient car available with a combined diesel fuel consumption figure of 1.38 l/100km, thanks to its frugal motor combo, feather-like weight – 380 kg in total - and an aerodynamic drag co-efficient of just 0.195!

Seven years ago, we reported on the development of Volkswagen’s tandem 1-Liter car. At that time, the prospect of a production version of the radical two-seater, which achieved fuel consumption of one liter fuel per 100 kilometers, was so remote as to be unthinkable.

Though the car was driven from Wolfsburg to Hamburg as a public demonstration by Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, at that time Chairman of the Board of Management and today Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Volkswagen Group, it was clear that a production version lay in the far future, if ever.

The L1 is the second generation of the 1-liter car, and close to production readiness. And its dimensions are intriguing - the length of the L1 at 3,813 millimeters is still similar to that of a Volkswagen Fox, and its height of 1,143 millimeters nearly matches that of a Lamborghini Murciélago, while the car’s aerodynamically optimized width (1,200 millimeters) has no comparisons in the world of today’s production cars.

In developing both prototype generations of the L1, Volkswagen questioned everything that typically characterized an automobile, and clearly in the case of the L1. The key starting point was body construction, and a core question was raised here: How would a car have to look and be built to consume as little energy as possible? The logical answer: extremely aerodynamic and lightweight. Yet these objectives had to be achieved under a non- negotiable precondition: a maximum of safety. The approach taken: a narrow two-seater with a CFRP body!

The seat layout fitting this design goal was dictated by the uncompromising aerodynamic form of a glider: One seat behind the other. Entry to the concept car is also similar to that of a glider; through a roof cover hinged at the side. On this second generation of the L1, the concept has been further honed; each component has been redesigned, a special chassis with aluminium components was developed, and above all the crucial CFRP technology from Formula-1 racing and airplane construction was transferred to automotive manufacturing. This has been combined with a unique form of hybrid drive to create a near-production vehicle.

The Volkswagen L1 Concept

18 comments
Gerard Gallagher
If Computer modelling has radically speeded up the design process,how does it take 11 Years to put such a design into production? do a retro homage to the Messerschmitt bubble car!
jerryd
There is not a chance they will produce this car. It's way to radical for them. Not that it shouldn't be produced, just it will be by a new company, not VW. Plus it's ugly. Aero does not have to be ugly.
robinyatesuk2003
Wow !,,,,,,,,,,, things are getting exciting in the automotive industry,,,,,,,,,,the Messerschmitt bubble car was an awful vehicle,,,,,,,,,,so no comparison there please !
Jon Shurtleff
I would buy one for commuting if the price was right. There's one big safety problem though. If the car rolls even onto its side you'd be trapped.
froginapot
It's interesting that one of the comments says that this car is ugly. I think this is a very beautiful car. I would rather have this car than any other car that I could think of. The only problem is that they will add bells and whistles and expensive extras so that it will be between 30 and 40 thousand dollars for the vehicle. I hope they make a bare bones, less expensive version. Maybe replacing a little of the carbon fiber with aluminum. But I don't know.
Robert Graham
I still think, that when small living business villages are built, 1000 people will be able to share 500 or even 250 cars, without A problem, & that therefore, each car will be able to cost twice as much upfront, permitting the construction of vehicles that are otherwise ahead of their time. When you DOUBLE the price of effectively the same vehicle, it can become a gorgeous and hyperefficient thing.
clovisman
This illustrates the factor in efficiency that has been overlooked by the technically challenged in the auto "green" press - frontal area. Aero drag is a function of drag coefficient, area, and speed. It's gotten harder to achieve reduction in drag coefficient, but rearranging the seats reduces frontal area by nearly half. The future of the automobile looks to me very much like a diesel, hybrid-powered Bic pen on wheels.
heldmyw
An aging motorcyclist, I, I would love to own one of these! I would gladly purchase an Aptera hybrid for that matter. It's the handling, the ease of transport, the freedom of movement down the road that appeals... The weather? Not so much. I don't even have enough hair left to grumble about helmet laws anymore. The 'wind whipping across your naked scalp' just doesn't have the same ring. C'mon VW! Bring it in under $20K. I'll contract for one and begin payments tomorrow!
Jeff Sell
Production schedules, "bells & whistles" and appearances aside, it most likely won't be available here (in the United States). It's hard enough to find decent diesel options here. Add in that it "looks weird" (to average Joe-Sixpack), means it will be kept out for perceived lack of interest. Since "all" cars look a particular way, burn a particular fuel, that OBVIOUSLY means that it should stay that way. I think it's a load of BS, but that's unfortunately how things are done. That's why we can't get "real" Opels here: We get Opels that have been stripped of what makes them good, and packed full of genuine GM crap, and a "Saturn" logo.
nehopsa
It sucks. Yes, unfortunately I do have to agree with Jeff. You will not get the real thing here.