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VW XL Sport Blends “Efficiency and Emotion”

Combining the world’s most efficient car and the world’s most-powerful 2-cylinder engine.

by on Oct.01, 2014

Volkswagen is producing just 500 copies of the two-cylinder XL Sport, which goes 168 mph.

What happens when you combine the world’s most fuel-efficient production car with the world’s most powerful two-cylinder engine? You come up with the Volkswagen XL Sport.

Based on the 238 mile per gallon VW XL1, the lightweight and ultra-aerodynamic platform is taking on a decidedly different character thanks to the Ducatti Superleggera V-Twin engine stuffed under its hood.

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Set to make its official debut at this week’s Paris Motor Show, VW plans to produce the 168 mph XL Sport in a limited run of just 500 copies. The maker hasn’t set a price tag yet, but the 250 XL1 hyper-milers carried an MSRP of around $250,000. (more…)

Renault Eolab Concept Delivers 235 mpg in Style

Prototype opts for lightweight materials, advanced aero and new hybrid technologies.

by on Sep.18, 2014

The Renault Eolab sips barely 1 liter of fuel every 100 km, and gets 37 miles per charge.

When Volkswagen announced plans to go into production with its 261 mile per gallon XL1 it seemed unlikely any manufacturer would be able to top it. Perhaps, but Renault is ready to come close with the new three-door Eolab concept vehicle it plans to unveil at the Paris Motor Show next month.

The French hatchback will only be able to manage a mere 235 mpg, according to Renault – but it also should deliver nearly twice the power of the anemic German mileage champ.

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For now, the real difference is that Volkswagen is rolling out 250 copies of the XL1 where Renault plans to use the Eolab as a test bed for technologies it says it might bring to market in the near future.

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New Technologies Allow Motorists to “See” In New Ways

Land Rover unveils “Transparent Hood,” Nissan demonstrates a “smart rearview mirror.”

by on Apr.14, 2014

A diagram of the new Nissan smart mirror system.

It’s always a challenge for a motorist to be sure they can see everything going on around their vehicle, whether backing out of a parking spot or changing lanes.  But new technologies have begun to make that challenge a little easier and safer, with two intriguing new features making their debut at the New York Auto Show later that week.

That includes a new “smart rearview mirror” developed by Nissan, as well as a feature Land Rover is dubbing the “Transparent Hood.”

 

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“Smart Rearview Mirror will give our customers the best possible view no matter how tall the passengers in the back seat or how bad the road conditions,” said Andy Palmer, Chief Planning Officer and Executive Vice President of Nissan.

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Makers Press NHTSA to Replace Side Mirrors with Cameras

High-tech alternatives could soon enter production.

by on Apr.02, 2014

The VW XL1 uses cameras instead of mirrors to allow drivers to see what's behind the vehicle.

When Volkswagen begins delivering the first of its ultra-efficient XL1 coupes by mid-year, motorists will have to get used to the idea of looking at a set of three video screens, rather than rear and side-view mirrors, to see what’s happening around them.

By replacing the traditional mirrors with micro-compact cameras built into the subcompact car’s body, VW designers were able to significantly improve the XL1’s aerodynamics, a critical factor in helping it achieve a record fuel economy of 235 miles per gallon.

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VW plans to build only 250 of the little cars – and none will be shipped to the U.S., in part, because federal rules require all vehicles be equipped with left and right-side exterior mirrors. But that could soon change. At least, the auto industry is hoping so. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a consortium that includes VW, Toyota and General Motors – as well as start-up Tesla Motors – has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to begin permitting manufacturers to replace mirrors with digital cameras. (more…)

First Drive: 261 MPG Volkswagen XL1

Pushing the limits of fuel-efficiency with VW's exotic two-seater.

by on Jul.18, 2013

At a rated 261 mpg, the VW XL1 could go from NYC to Boston on a gallon - not a tank - of fuel.

It takes a bit of effort to slip in under the gullwing doors and then wedge oneself into the low-slung seat of the Volkswagen XL1. And it’s even more difficult for my co-pilot as the passenger seat is set slightly rearward, almost tandem-style.

The simple reality is that the windswept two-seater isn’t built for comfort. The Volkswagen XL1 was designed for maximum mileage. And we’re not talking something like the mere 50 to 60 miles per gallon of today’s best hybrids, nor the 100 mpg “equivalent” ratings of some of the latest battery-electric vehicles. No, this diesel plug-in hybrid recently received a mind-boggling rating from European authorities of 261 miles per gallon, far and away an all-time record.

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Describing the XL1 as “my baby,” program manager Steven Volckaert notes the project has been underway for more than a decade, with the original goal of squeezing out 100 kilometers from a single liter of fuel. For the metrically challenged, that works out to about 235 mpg.

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VW Aims to Grab Industry’s “Green” Crown

Germans extend an olive leaf to Greenpeace.

by on Apr.08, 2013

VW is hoping to develop an image of environmental leadership with products like the 261 mpg XL1 hybrid.

Ever since Toyota ran away with the auto industry’s environmental crown after the successful introduction of the Prius more than a decade ago, other automakers have been trying to figure out a way to snatch it away from the Japanese auto giant.

Companies as different in outlook and management style as Nissan and General Motors have sunk a sizable fortune into vehicle electrification as part of as yet-unsuccessful bids to win the environmental mantel from Toyota. Others carmakers, such as Ford and Honda, simply continue plodding along raising fuel economy and campaigning to get consumers to recognize the benefits of their vehicles.

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Thus far, the campaigns have helped burnish the reputations of the various makers but they haven’t succeeded in surpassing Toyota.

Now, Volkswagen AG is coming on strong in a bid to challenge Toyota’s leadership in in what is seen as a critical area for winning over fickle younger buyers, who haven’t really committed to any one brand.

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Other VW Models to Share 261 MPG XL1 Drivetrain

Diesel plug-in will also power version of Volkswagen Up! minicar.

by on Feb.26, 2013

A high-mileage "Lite" concept version of the Volkswagen Up! minicar could wind up sharing the diesel plug-in system going into the VW XL1.

Volkswagen apparently has big plans for the high-mileage diesel plug-in hybrid powertrain that will be used in its little XL1 microcar.

Reports from Europe suggest the drivetrain – which will yield an astonishing 261 miles per gallon under the hood of the XL1 – also will make an appearance as an option for VW’s little Up! minicar. And versions of the powertrain could show up in other models, as well.

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The XL1 is the latest version of VW’s ongoing 1-liter car project, that a reference to its goal of using just 1 liter of gasoline to travel 100 kilometers. In U.S. terms, that works out to about 240 mpg – a target the XL1 reportedly will beat by about 10%.

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VW Launching 261 mpg XL1 Hybrid

2-Seater billed as world’s most fuel-efficient production car.

by on Feb.21, 2013

VW claims the XL1 will be the world's most fuel-efficient car when it goes into production.

Volkswagen plans to launch what it is billing as the world’s most fuel-efficient production car, the plug-in XL1 expected to yield a combined fuel economy rating of 261 miles per gallon.

The gas-electric 2-seater also will get an estimated 32 miles per charge in all-electric mode, according to VW. It will nonetheless be able to hit a top speed of 99 mph.

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The XL1 is the latest design to emerge from an ongoing project designed to see just how far VW can stretch a gallon of gas. The original goal was to use just one liter of fuel to travel 100 kilometers. That would have worked out to 235 mpg in American terms. The XL1 beats that by more than 10 percent.

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VW Tops 250 MPG With XL1 Concept

Who cares about fuel prices.

by on Jan.27, 2011

Using lightweight materials, slick aerodynamics and a diesel-hybrid, VW's XL1 achieves 250 mpg.

You could dole fuel out with an eyedropper and ignore the latest pump prices were the Volkswagen XL1 sitting in your driveway.  The newest VW concept vehicle claims a fuel economy of a seemingly impossible 250 miles per gallon.

Unveiled at this week’s Qatar Motor Show, the prototype uses a variety of techniques to reduce weight and minimize wind resistance, while turning to a plug-in diesel-hybrid powertrain to squeeze out every last bit of energy.

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Among the various steps taken to improve aerodynamics are a closed front end, extensive underbody covers, closed wheels and pin-sized cameras that replace conventional sideview mirrors.  The VW XL1 yields a drag coefficient of just 0.19, compared to 0.25 for the relatively slick Toyota Prius.

There’s less than 400 pounds of steel or iron on the XL1.  The chassis is a monocoque made of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic, or CFRP, a material normally found on extremely low-volume supercars, such as the Lamborghini Sesto.  That and other lightweight materials, such as aluminum and magnesium, and the ceramics of the prototypes brakes, and VW has been able to hold the mass of the XL1 down to just 1,749 pounds.

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