For those who haven’t seen the Volkswagen XL1 before, it’s essentially a two-person hybrid car designed to be able to travel 100 km on 0.9 liters of diesel fuel – the equivalent of 261 MPG – while being both roadworthy and practical. Continue reading for two videos, more pictures, and additional information.

For light weight, the car uses an unpainted carbon fiber skin over a magnesium-alloy subframe. Individual components have been designed to be low weight, including engine, transmission, suspension, wheels (carbon fibre), brakes (aluminium), hubs (titanium), bearings (ceramic), interior, and so on. Empty vehicle weight is 290 kg (639 lb). The body and frame are designed with crush/crumple zones and roll-over protection, and the tandem seating means large side crush zones. Volkswagen claims protection comparable to a GT racing car. The car has anti-lock brakes, airbags with pressure sensors, and stability control.

The engine is a one-cylinder 1.8L diesel producing just 47hp. It drives through a 6-speed transmission that combines stick-shift mechanics, weight, and drive efficiency with automatic convenience and efficiency controls. There is no clutch pedal. The gear selection (forwards, reverse or neutral) is made using a switch on the right-hand side of the cockpit. The engine is switched off automatically during deceleration and stops, and auto-restarted when the acceleration pedal is pressed.


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