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Volkswagen's XL1 Spotted On US Soil

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On: Thu, May 26, 2011 at 11:18AM | By: Chris Salamone

Volkswagen's XL1 Spotted On US Soil

Back in January we had our first glimpse at the incredible new generation XL1 which uses a mere 0.9 liters of gas per 100 km. The prototype XL1 is the latest vision in VW’s quest to create a production 1-liter car which is both affordable and practical. And most recently, VW debuted the XL1 to the United States at the New York City Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA, as residents affectionately proclaim.

VW suggests that future mobility is one of the most stimulating topics of our time and the XL1 aims to address the most critical question: how little energy consumption can a single car operate on? Well, since January 2011 the answer comes in vehiclar form. VW doesn’t just pose outlandish questions while standing on the sideline. No, no, VW actually delivered a new version of the XL1 which sets a new standard for efficiency.

The XL1 puts out a staggeringly low 24 g/km of CO2 emissions, can travel 261 miles on a single gallon, and slices through the air with minimal aerodynamic drag (Cd 0.19). Power stems from a plug-in hybrid system which balances the strengths of a two cylinder TDI engine (47 hp and 89 lb ft torque) and an electric motor (27 hp and 74 lb ft torque) supported by a lithium-ion core and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

At the recent US debut, the XL1 was displayed by Martin Winterkorn, VW’s Group chief executive, and actress Lucy Liu. While the XL1 sat outside the Museum of Modern Art and brought loads of media attention to VW’s 1-liter challenge, the vehicle also meant to represent a budding partnership announced on Monday between VW and MoMA. VW plans to finance exhibition and education projects at the Museum, in addition to a substantial donation of two undisclosed works to the Museum’s permanent collection.

The New York Times reports that the XL1 will be produced in limited quantities in 2013, with some units destined for the United States. The 2013 production goal certainly isn’t impossible. Since the first 1-liter car was presented in 2002 and the second generation in 2009, VW has made great progress in reducing production costs—possibly the single most important step towards reaching the consumer market. Will the XL1 reach market in the vehicle’s current state? Almost certainly not, but let’s hope the wing doors stick around for a while. VW’s US showcase at MoMA really demonstrates that the German automaker is taking the XL1 seriously and trying to imprint the vehicle’s image and the 1-liter concept into American minds.

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