Sunday March 3, 2013
A prototype graduates to the real world
VOLKSWAGEN has not only announced that its super-efficient XL1 car will be coming to Geneva, the German carmaker has also confirmed that after almost 10 years of developing, testing and prototyping, that it is ready for the market and will be going on sale this year.
The brainchild of former CEO Professor Dr Ferdinand Piech who set the company a goal of developing a car practical enough for everyday use that nevertheless could deliver a fuel economy of 0.9l/100km, the vehicle has been through three full iterations to reach production.
The finished version seats two, almost side-by-side (earlier iterations had the driver sitting at the front of the car and the passenger in the rear), and is powered by a plug-in hybrid engine with a battery capable of powering the car for 50km on its own between charges. Complementing the electric motor is an 800cc turbo-diesel engine – literally half of a four-cylinder 1.6-litre engine – and an intelligent use of a carbon-fibre reinforced polymer to build the car, cutting its total weight to an astonishing 795kg. Out of this figure, 227kg represents the entire drive unit including the battery, 153kg the running gear, 80kg the equipment and 105kg the electrical system. That leaves 230kg, which is precisely the weight of the body. Yet none of this weight-saving has in any way compromised handling, rigidity or safety in the event of a collision.
Although one of the most aerodynamic vehicles on the road, whether in concept or production form, the XL1 has an electrically-limited top speed of 160km/h and is only capable of accelerating from 0-100kph in 12.7 seconds.
Still it is capable of travelling for 500km before its 10-litre fuel tank requires a refill. And there is currently no other car with two seats and a trunk that can make the same claim.
Volkswagen is yet to reveal pricing but is expected to do so when the car is launched at the Geneva Motor Show on March 7. – AFP Relaxnews