At this week's Qatar Motor Show, which runs from January 26 to 29, Volkswagen will unveil the third and latest iteration of its two-seater diesel-electric hybrid concept series, the new XL1 Super Efficient Vehicle (SEV). The first two vehicles of the series were the 1-litre concept car unveiled back in April 2002 and the L1 study from the 2009 Frankfurt motor show.
With the new and evolved concept model, VW has managed to further improve the car's fuel economy to a staggering 0.9 lt/100 km, equal to 261 mpg US and 313 mpg UK while emitting a mere 24 g/km of CO2.
Technical advances aside, the major difference between the XL1 and its predecessors is VW's more conventional approach with the automaker dropping the narrow packaging and tandem seating of the L1 in favor of a much better looking and practical design with the driver and passenger placed next to each.
The XL1 is motivated by a small 800 cc TDI two-cylinder common rail diesel engine developing 48-horsepower. It’s linked to an electric motor producing an additional 27HP, resulting in a combined output of 75HP.
That might not sound impressive, but keep in mind that the XL1 tips the scales at just 795 kg or 1,752 pounds, thanks to the extensive use of lightweight materials throughout including Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer parts for the body, magnesium for the wheels, ceramics for the brake discs and aluminium for dampers, steering system and brake calipers.
The car is equipped with a seven-speed DSG gearbox with an automatic clutch mounted between the diesel engine and eclectic motor. VW says the electric motor can either work independently of the TDI engine or in tandem when accelerating. In pure electric mode the XL1 can reach speed of up to 35 km [22 mph] before the diesel engine cuts in. Accelerating from rest to 100km/h [62 mph] comes in 11.9 seconds, while the electronically limited top speed is 160 km/h [99 mph].
The styling of the XL1 is borne out of functional requirements – easy access to the interior is granted via a pair of elegant scissor doors that hinge on the A-pillar while the profile of the car has been honed in the wind tunnel, the result being a remarkable coefficient of drag figure of 0.186.
The XL1’s overall length (3,970 mm) and width (1,682 mm) are similar to those of a Volkswagen Polo, but its height, at just 1,184 mm, is more akin to that of a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. Other notable highlights include the scissor-style doors that hinge on the A-pillar and the impressive coefficient of drag figure of 0.186.
Volkswagen said it does not have any plans to put the XL1 into production, but added that many of the concept's features including the powertrain and lightweight materials may find their way into the firm's next generation of eco-friendly vehicles.