Testdriving the world’s most fuel efficient car the VW XL1 — Volkswagen 2016

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Volkswagen 2016

Test-driving the world’s most efficient car, the VW XL1

Date 15 2013

David Mole, Manager, The Climate Group, the world’s most fuel-efficient the VW XLR, for a spin around London.

David writes:

I was introduced to the Volkswagen XL1 . First at the Qatar Motor Show in the XL1 made its debut appearance in the UK week, including being for the tourists’ cameras outside Palace. And the XL1 truly is a breathtaking easily competing for pictures London’s royal palace.

Peter Wouda, the XLR’s of Exterior Design . described the design to me as being crafted for based on the shapes of yachts and sharks.

Extremely low to the curb, the XL1 has a and assertive nose with efficient. slightly snarling LED . set in a clean, angular array at the lowest position legally The body then whips over Lamborghini-esque gull-wing and enclosed rear wheels, to a cut-off stern which an entirely marine sense of and efficiency; a sort of Cutty in miniature.

For the car dubbed the most fuel in the world (an incredible 315mpg), the XL1 disabuses you of any notion that efficiency means cutting in terms of looks.

Yet, to the engineers talk about the it’s striking that the of the design was not fastened upon out of a to turn heads. Volkswagen’s after all, is one of precise and engineering . And so, everything about the XL1 is with efficiency in mind it just so happens that the given to us in the natural world, and by of the most simple forms of transport, are sublime guides.

The nip tightly in; razor-sharp like a tailfin. Any curvature would add air turbulence. To the extent that aren’t even wing-mirrors, would only produce These are replaced by tiny embedded in the door panel, and crystal clear images, zoom in and out, adjusting angles automatically to help viewing surrounding traffic and objects.

There is a little steel in the chassis construction, but one of the main of building the XL1 was to reduce fuel by minimizing weight. The outer is made of carbon fibre, with much of the interior while internal components been made of magnesium wherever possible.

Weighing we started out parked next to a Mini, which looked by comparison.

Hybrid technology

The engine is an ultra-compact 800c . and directly behind the cabin with a surprisingly spacious for luggage. A 27hp electric complements the diesel, and charges in 90-140 minutes .

I was invited for a drive with Patrick an XL1 engineer . Before getting the car, he explained that the doors had a safety device the occupant to remove the door any angle in case the car rolled in a crash. In such a circumstance he out a tiny wire near the hinge, which would a controlled explosion enabling the to be removed without using the and the driver or passenger to exit I was overwhelmed.

Not only had it suddenly grown, but the to my left now looked like a hulk, a relic of a set of benighted about how city transport operate .

Staring down at the the plummy tones of Desmond echoed in my head, and for once, do it back in pristine order, I think I might have out loud at this point, but I was brought round by Patrick seriously at me, deadpanning: Well, you do to think of these things.


So we got in, stepping down this low-slung vision of the The designers had warned me of there a lack of insulation, a little noise, a little lack of — all due to cutting weight the body of the car. And yet, for all concessions, I was essentially stepping into a supercar of which 50 exist globally.

At first I had expected the cabin to cramped, with the seats as they are; the passenger sits slightly behind the seat to enable the body to be And yet within a few seconds, I was completely The cabin felt spacious, designed, crafted in a striking way was neat, not overly showy, and VW. I expected to have my knees up underneath my chin, however I was luxuriating in the ample legroom.

out of the enclosed courtyard into London and, at the first the smartphones of passers-by were turned on us to take pictures of the Or perhaps the driver and passenger.

The and warnings of the designers were unwarranted. The XL1 feels like a car . The engine seem responsive, the lively. There are a few strange with the ceramic brake but nothing that isn’t different from what we are all to.

Driving on electric is nearly . Looking out of the windows at the milling and taxis that make up a afternoon, I had a sense of looking in time at a procession of antiquated rather like driving in a car in the Midwest or in Pennsylvania and seeing an buggy approaching along the

The XL1 is, as Peter told me, a ‘proof of is possible’. The future for the next ten according to Patrick, is the ultra-efficient hybrid .

Low emissions

Enabling emissions reductions and not reliant on geographical adoption of charging such cars will be the to a world where electric are the norm.

While it is unlikely the XL1 will soon be produced the technologies embedded into the XL1 are to be rolled out in VW’s Golf, Up! and models between now and 2016.

VW’s plan to up-scale the of the XL1 is the Clean Revolution in action.

XL1 . 0-62mph: 11.9sec; Top speed: Economy: 313mpg (combined); CO2 24g/km; Kerb weight: Drag coefficient: 0.186; layout: 2 cyls in line, turbodiesel, plus 5kWh electric assist; Installation: transverse, RWD; Power: (diesel), 26bhp (electric); 103lb ft (combined); Gearbox: dual-clutch

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