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Volkswagen To Offer 100-Model Production On Its Intriguing XL1 Concept

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On: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 6:35PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen To Offer 100-Model Production On Its Intriguing XL1 Concept

Last week, Volkswagen made a big splash with the plug-in diesel-electric hybrid concept that it calls the XL1. It introduced the concept, which looks straight out of a futuristic thriller, at the Qatar Motor Show. The XL1 is an updated version of the L1 concept that VW first showed in 2002. It promises incredible efficiency, thanks to its tiny diesel- and electric motor-based powertrain. And good news for green lovers: Volkswagen plans to put it in production by 2013. For now, however, production will be limited to just 100 units.

Automotive News quotes VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech from Qatar: "We want to go into series production with this car starting in 2013." Piech went on to indicate that production will be very limited, with no more than 100 units planned, but that the car will be sold to actual consumers as opposed to fleet customers. Sales will begin in Germany and will move to the U.S. and China.

The XL1 derives its name from the goal of creating a car that expends just 1 liter of fuel per 100 km. VW's take on an answer to this goal is a small .8-liter two-cylinder TDI engine paired with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Not only did Volkswagen meet its goal, it exceeded it with a .9 liter per 100 km. That translates to around 260 mpg—pretty close to the overblown 267 mpg that Nissan advertised for the Leaf before the EPA's official formula delivered the more down-to-earth rating of 99 mpg-e.

In addition to the efficient powertrain, Volkswagen has maximized aerodynamics. Looking at the car, you may wonder if it's a regular car or a three-wheeler. While it does indeed have four wheels, the body is tapered to increase aerodynamics—kind of like the Peugeot EX-1 from Paris, albeit in a less visible way.

The XL1 weighs 1,753 lbs., thanks to carbon fiber body panels, and is able to get the most out of its small powertrain. It is capable of speeds up to 100 mph and a 62 mph of around 11.9 seconds. According to VW, the XL1 contains more carbon fiber than any other Volkswagen AG car outside of the Bugatti Veyron.

While the production version is likely to be relatively expense given the high-tech components and development costs, some indications are that the price will benefit from decreasing production costs. According to Automotive News, the carbon fiber body costs just 5,000 euros to build. Meanwhile, the decreasing costs of lithium-ion batteries will help to keep the price down.

As Automobile magazine points out, if and when the XL1 does go into limited production, Volkswagen will have credit for the most inefficient, overpowered, limited production speed machine (Bugatti Veyron), and the most efficient, modestly powered, limited production hybrid. Do those two cancel each other out in the eyes of government bodies?

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