New York: German car manufacturers Volkswagen as set to build a futuristic two-seater diesel-electric hybrid that would travel from Sydney to Melbourne on about 12 dollars of fuel.
The company will launch production version of its most exotic vehicle ever, the two-seater XL1 plug-in hybrid that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show, the New York daily News reported reported.
Billed as the world’s most fuel efficient road car, the teardrop-shaped coupe relies on a combination of exotic construction materials, a low kerb weight, compact plug-in diesel electric hybrid driveline and record breaking aerodynamics to deliver a spectacular combined cycle fuel consumption of 0.9L/100km on the European test cycle – a figure, Volkswagen contends, provides the XL1 with a theoretical range of more than 500km on its tiny 10-litre fuel tank, while endowing it with average CO2 emissions of just 21g/km.
Capable of running on battery power alone, the new Volkswagen also possess a zero-emission range of up to 50km on its electric motor.
First displayed as a running prototype back in 2011, the carbon-fibre reinforced plastic bodied XL1 is set to enter limited production alongside the Volkswagen Golf cabriolet and Porsche Boxster at the former Karmann factory in Osnabruck, Germany next month.
At 3888mm in length and 1153mm in height, the XL1 is slightly shorter than the existing Volkswagen Polo but lower than the recently unveiled second-generation Porsche Cayman.
Entry to the cabin is via butterfly style doors hinged within the windscreen pillar. Inside, the new Volkswagen provides accommodation for two, with the seats staggered slightly to free up shoulder room.
A series of extreme weight saving measures, including the use of specially developed carbon-fibre reinforced plastic just 1.2mm thick for the body, a windscreen with glass that is 3.2mm thick, a dashboard supported by a wood fibre material some 1.4mm thick and magnesium wheels, sees the XL1 hit the scales at just 795kg in production trim.
The diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain, which is also planned to be fitted to Volkswagen’s entry level Up city car to create a more affordable fuel miser, is mounted at the rear of the XL1’s cabin. Weighing just 227kg in all, it is based around a turbocharged 800cc two-cylinder common rail diesel powerplant that is mounted transversely and develops 35kW and 120Nm.
The efforts of the combustion engine are supported by a brushless electric motor mounted in the forward section of the new car’s seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, where it delivers 20kW and 140Nm.
Energy for the electric motor is provided by a 5.5kWh lithium-ion battery sited up front in the nose. It can be charged both via regular mains power or recuperated energy produced primarily under braking.
Together, the diesel engine and electric motor provide the hi-tech Volkswagen with a combined system output of 51kW and 140Nm, with drive delivered to the rear wheels.
First Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 12:47