Volkswagen has designed a PHEV that achieved 314 MPG partly due to its highly efficient diesel-electric propulsion system. Not only are diesel engines much more efficient than gasoline engines, but electric motors are far more efficient than both of them, so Volkswagen combined diesel and electricity to achieve this. It is called the VW XL1, and Volkswagen hopes to sell about 250 of these unpriced super hybrids.
The VW XL1 body is entirely made of carbon fiber, but Volkswagen needs to do away with the lengthy baking process involved in producing carbon-based body parts. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, the chief designer of the VW XL1 said that is takes 10-20 hours to finish the construction of carbon parts. The engine is a 0.8 litre, two-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that produces 47 BHP coupled with a 27 horsepower electric motor powered by a 5.5 kWh battery bank.
Despite the small propulsion system, the Volkswagen XL1 can still accelerate from 0-62 MPH in only 12.7 seconds, which is slow, although not as slow as one might expect for a 74 horsepower vehicle. The XL1 is roughly the same length and width as a Volkswagen Polo. The XL1 weighs 1,750 pounds (795 kg), and its body weighs 506 pounds (230 kg).
While Volkswagen plans to build and sell only around 250 of these XL1 super hybrids, the technology used to make them uber-efficient could soon be found in more commonplace, conventional cars like the Volkswagen Golf. The key is integrating this technology without jacking up the price on the traditional family car. As it stands, the Volkswagen XL1 will cost around $150,000, far beyond what most people spend on a car.
Can Volkswagen take this expensive hybrid technology and mass produce it for vehicles like the Golf?