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If I told you that Volkswagen had developed a car that could return 0.75 litres per 100 kms (313 mpg) and emit just 24 grams of CO2 per kilometre, is that something you might be interested in?

Volkswagen has unveiled such a car at the Qatar Motor Show, and it’s the latest iteration of the German car company’s Super Efficient Vehicle (SEV).

The figures are astonishing and would no doubt be of grave concern to the major oil companies.

The XL1 is a rear-wheel drive plug in hybrid, powered by an 800 cc TDI two-cylinder common-rail diesel engine, developing just over 35 kW or 48 HP. The additional power source is an electric motor generating a little over 19 kW, bringing the power up to 54 kW.

It isn’t a whole lot of power, but with a kerb weight of 795 kilograms, it gets the job done if efficiency is the primary goal.

Linking the diesel engine and the electric motor is seven-speed DSG gearbox and an automatic clutch between each unit. It means the electric motor can function independently of the TDI engine or in tandem, when more acceleration is required

The entire body structure of the car weighs just 230kg, and is constructed from carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) and Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM).

There is room for a driver and passenger who sit side-by-side and access to the cabin is via a pair of scissor doors, which are hinged on the A-pillar.

Further weight savings come from the magnesium wheels, while the brakes are ceramic, and the aluminium is used for the dampers, steering and brake calipers.

Wind tunnel utilisation is responsible for the exterior styling, which helps the XL1 achieve the remarkable coefficient of drag number of 0.186.

The length and width of the car are similar to that of the Volkswagen Polo, while the height is closer to the Lamborghini Gallardo.

The XL1, while still a concept, pushes the efficiency envelope to the outer limits of what mankind is capable of.




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