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The Volkswagen XL1 Makes an Appearance in the US

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On: Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 9:04AM | By: Chris Weiss

The Volkswagen XL1 Makes an Appearance in the US

Arguably the most technologically advanced "mainstream" car that the world has ever seen, the XL1 represents Volkswagen's way of jumpstarting the green auto industry with a no-expenses-spared approach. Dubbed as the world's most fuel efficient and aerodynamic car, the XL1 debuted earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show. In Germany, one needed only stop into the Frankfurt train station during the recent IAA international auto show to get a close-up look of the technological marvel, but Americans have had to have a bit more luck and timing. Until last week.

Although Volkswagen has said quite emphatically that the XL1 will not be made available for US sale, the automaker did bring the model to US shores for the 23rd Annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The world's most fuel efficient car makes a natural point of discussion for anyone interested in the environment.

"The XL1 offers a glimpse into Volkswagen’s present and future eco-mobility capabilities, and highlights the ultimate successes of ‘Thinking Blue’,” said Oliver Schmidt, General Manager of the Engineering and Environmental Office (EEO), Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. "Volkswagen is proud to debut this ultra-fuel-efficient vehicle before the Society of Environmental Journalists, a group that shares in our commitment to environmental stewardship."

The XL1 uses several levels of technology to reach its astounding 200+ mpg potential. Volkswagen essentially pulled out all the stops in a way that's usually reserved for million-dollar supercars and race cars. It built the XL1 atop a CFRP monocoque that helps keep its weight to a typo-looking 1,753 pounds. That ensures the small, efficient, plug-in powertrain (a two-cylinder TDI + 27-hp electric motor) can push it forward efficiently without a hitch. Helping it out is bullet-like aerodynamics that make it the world's most aerodynamic production car. Measures include the thinned-out rear track, offset seating, and rear wheel coverings.

The XL1's other numbers are all equally impressive. It can travel up to 32 miles on electric power alone, cruise down the highway at 62 mph while using just 8.3 hp, and reach a top speed of 99 mph. It emits just 21 g/km of CO2.

Volkswagen has yet to announce pricing on the XL1, but, whatever the cost, the innovative two-seater has clearly brought the future to the present, showing what type of efficiency is possible with a little work and investment.

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