261 MPG VW XL1 Concept Confirmed for 2013 Production


Remember the world’s most fuel-efficienct car? Volkswagen has been showing off increasingly-efficient versions of their original 1L concept for the past decade…and now it appears as though VW will do more than tease use. According to one VW exec, the German automaker will start a smaller series of production of the XL1 in Germany starting in 2013.This is the second time rumors of XL1-production have surfaced, in my mind making it more than just hearsay. Powered by a 27-horsepower electric motor and 48-horsepower two-cylinder diesel engine, the XL1 can go 100 km on less than a liter of fuel. That equates to about a 261 mpg rating on the U.S. cycle, thanks to an extremely low weight of just over 1,700 pounds. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of VW Group, told Autonews Europe regarding the XL1 concept that “We will start small series production by 2013 – in Germany.”

With a 0-62 mph time of about 12-seconds, the XL1 isn’t exactly a rocketship. But what it lacks in performance it will make up for in fuel efficiency, or so VW hopes. The reality will hinge on the cost, and I doubt this little foray into extreme fuel efficiency will be cheap. However, it could lead to a future of ultra-efficient commuter vehicles. I also imagine a few of these lightweight pod cars will get a performance boost from thrill-seekers like myself.

What would you pay for a 261 mpg car? And would you be willing to sacrifice any illusion of speed for such extreme efficiency?

Source: Autonews Europe 

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he’s running, because he’s one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Marc P.

    “What would you pay for a 261 mpg car? And would you be willing to sacrifice any illusion of speed for such extreme efficiency?”

    No, and No. Yes, if I was super rich and could afford such an unpractical vehicle as my… 5th or 6th set of wheels.

    What I would go for, though, is a Volt like small SUV. Might not get 261 mpg, but would be much more practical. I might never use gas again on my normal daily commutes, but only on my occasional weekend nature getaways…

    Now, if such a vehicle was within my financial reach (middle class), well built and reasonably reliable, then YES, I would buy THAT in an instant !

    • Marc P.

      Should have read “Nothing and no”

      • Aaron

        I’ll take it with the diesel only plus a 6 speed manual. Too bad not offered that way.

  • I’d expect VW to charge serious money for this, and for it to be worth every penny. Don’t go ape if it’s in the range of $60,000 or more. Making a car this light won’t be cheap and we’ll be asked to pay handsomely for the exclusive privilege, of that I have no doubt. It just seems like the perfect concoction of Audi R8 and Toyota Prius, strange though that mix may seem. I also expect that they’ll sell every last single one and that it’ll become an instant status icon. My hopes couldn’t be higher!

  • Insightman

    It won’t be as much fun to drive my 63+ mpg (12-year averge in Michigan) Honda Insight Classic when it’s mpg-leading 1998 technology is finally superceded. If I could buy this techno-wonder for anything under $30K, I’d get in line today, but with its carbon-fiber construction and a production run probably in the double-digits, this space ship will have to be priced like one of VW’s Lamborghinis (unless, like Honda, VW subsidizes the price). And how does a company support a car that averages less than one car per state? “Hello, Volkswagen? Someone just clipped my XL1 while I was in the supermarket. When can you ship me some new body parts? And can you tell me which body shop in my town fixes carbon-fiber automotbiles? That’s OK, I’ll stay on hold. What?!? $3,000 for a front fender?!? Next year!?!”

  • Jay Tee

    Wow, I’d like to strenously disagree with the previous posts- 0 – 60 is livable- I’d like to say ‘yes and yes’ – I would buy this car if it was at all affordable.

  • EGM

    Just beef up the electric motor to 85 kW like the one GM is putting in the 2013 Spark EV and you’ve got a winner!

  • EGM

    Oh, I forgot to mention, get rid of the diesel engine…

  • EGM

    Oh, I forgot to mention, get rid of the stinky diesel engine…

  • Marc P.

    I’m sure some people HERE would buy such a car, but for the general public, I don’t think this vehicle (an expensive 2 seater) will be anything more than a oddity we’ll see in the driveways of the very well off or hard core environmentalists. Of course, the technology used in such a vehicle could eventually trickle down to more mass oriented machines, and that, in itself, is positive so…. Go VW !

  • K. Berger

    I’d say this: It is a great start into a very bright future for everyone. Nobody wants to live in filth that everyone produces each day, but nobody is willing to clean it up. So way to go, VW!!!
    Oh and for all that do not know, Diesel contains more energy and burns cleaner than any gas engine. Like some said, more companies will look into that and produce a variety of vehicles for all of us in time.

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  • EGM


    Contradicts what I see every day, diesels belching soot into the air that we breath

    Causes ASTHMA, allergies that trigger ear & sinus infections, and scarring in the lungs (remember asbestosis?)

    • You are correct: inhaling combustion leftovers is BAD NEWS, but “clean diesel” refers more to clean-ER diesels, and the move towards an engine that can burn ethanol (which does burn cleaner and which does have VASTLY SUPERIOR characteristics as a fuel in high compression engines) is wholly positive.

  • Tim

    The Chevy Volt pollutes more than the new golf tdi,and driving every day a v8 with 12 mpg it’s good for your asthma ?ho is the moron

  • martin berger

    I will drive it from LA to the Patagonia if i get it for free. speed is not a factor, its getting there.

  • Doug Nearn

    Maybe we are losing track of what is important. It may not be made of carbonfibre. The 2000 Honda Insight weighs about 1800# and it carries a battery also, I too would like a six speed. Twenty miles on no fuel is also very nice.

  • Jason Carpp

    Diesel-electric hybrid? Hopefully, someone will offer such technology for North American drivers. We have so many gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, it’s no longer amusing.