Hybrid Vehicles vw-xl1

Published on March 12th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


VW to Build 250 XL1 314 MPG PHEVs

March 12th, 2013 by  


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?

Sources: Carmagazine.co.uk

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About the Author

loves attending and writing about/photographing events, and he writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, automobiles, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography.

  • G_voll

    It seems there is conflicting information going about. I don’t seem to be able to do the math correctly, the article that I have read states 250 miles on 10 liters of fuel that equates to about 95 miles per gallon. What gives on all of these mileage figures? http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/volkswagen/62839/volkswagen-xl1-revealed

    • Hi George,

      It probably can use 9 or 9.5L max from the 10L tank?  And at 0.9L/100km that equates to a maximum range of about 1,000km or ~620 miles on diesel alone.  Add in the ~31 miles electric only, and you get a total max range of ~650 miles.


      • G_voll

        Thanks Neil, I am sure that your math is correct. It just seems that the figures that the press is putting out vary quite a bit. Wouldn’t you agree?

    • Jo Borras

      0.9 l / 100 km = just over 260 mpg. Try this: calculator-converter.com/l_100km_mpg_convert_mpg_to_l_per_100_km.php

      • G_voll

        MPGe? Or actual MPG?

    • G_voll

      The 95 Mpg would be more reasonable since the diesel engine is not over 50% thermal efficient.

  • Glad to see another volt like entry.  This one is something new, with the highest mileage numbers around.
    The 300 number is MPGe, not MPG. So its about 1/2 the curb wieght of the volt but 3 times the cost.
    Bet the 95 mpg figure will drop into the 60’s once you add two heavy texans into the back seat.  The good news is the way forward is clear, wieght reduction and plug in cars are the future!

    • G_voll

      The mpg number 314 is in imperial gallons which would equate to 261 mpg in US gallons. Now they say that you can travel 31 miles in electric only, so that means that you can drive 230 miles per gallon of diesel only? It just seems to me that this may be a hoax on the mpg or mpge numbers or maybe they were going 25 miles per hour. I would like to see some actual numbers, the only ones that made since were 250 miles on 10 liters at “Highway” speeds (does this mean at 45 miles per hour? If so then I have that beat).

      • Jo Borras

        Traditionally speaking, highway speed tests in TUV-land are conducted between 100 and 200 km/h (62-124 mph).

      • Marko Germani

         Real life figure should be around 100-130 MPG, at about 65 MPH, NOT counting the battery help.

    • Marko Germani

       There is no backseat. It’s a two-seater.

  • Ziv Bnd

    1750 pounds and an MSRP of $150k is interesting for a test platform, but what will be great is if VW can build a Lotus style car, very low weight and good performance, but make it comfortably seating 4 and weighing just 2000 pounds and costing less than $50k using some of the materials and techniques that VW has developed with the XL1.
    I have always wondered what Lotus could have developed if they had continued developing 4 seat cars like the Eclat. Lightweight, sporty and cheap, you can have any two…

    • Jo Borras

      I think you have this backwards – most of the tech in the XL1, from the monocoque composite frame to the use of extruded aluminum to the very notion of ground effect and underbody aero – came from LOTUS. Also, they built the very car you describe – 4 passenger, high MPG, low weight … it was called the Europa, and there is also the Evora. Nobody buys them.

  • So, it is a halo car for VW, but I think the ripple effect will push other makers to try and compete.  And that is a good thing!

    Let’s not forget the critical contribution that low aerodynamic drag is to any über efficient car.  In particular, the frontal area of the XL1 is 1.50 sq m which is 16.146 sq ft. The Cd is 0.189, so the CdA is just 3.05 sq ft. The CdA of the EV1 is 3.96 sq ft.  So, the XL1 will be the lowest drag production car, ever, up to this point.


    • Jo Borras

      Well, freakin’, said.

  • Marko Germani

    Looking at the comments, seems to me lot of people don’t understand the car.

    The XL1 needs 0,9 liters of diesel for 100 km. This equates to roughly 260 MPG. BUT: this is measured with EU cycle, which has a cycle that starts with full battery and does NOT take into account the equivalent primary energy needed to fill up the batteries. For about half of the cycle test duration, the car runs on electricity only, which is not accounted for. (Yes, EU rules are a scam).

    Real figures of “diesel only” operation are about twice as that, so 1,8 l/100 km or 130 MPG. It is still a great achievement, thanks to the ultra-lightweight body, extreme Cx and small frontal area. It only needs 8HP to maintain 100 km/h. And the price should be around 42k€, not 150k$.

    • G_voll

      Thank you Marko for clearing this up.

  • Pingback: Flashback Friday: A 1947 Volkswagen With Aerodynamics To Spare - Gas 2()

  • Ian

    Lots of talk about mileage figures but what about the diesel-electric hybrid concept…? Its about time. How long have we used diesel-electric trains? I mean really. What are our best mpg passenger vehicles now? Affordable gas-hybrids and turbo-diesels! So what’s the hangup? Why do we only have this concept diesel hybrid that no average consumer can afford? Gasoline’s supremacy baffles me.

    • Marko Germani

      Cost. Hybrid is expensive on its own and some manufacturers compensate partially by using crappy engines, the worst example being the range extender of the Volt. A diesel is about 2-4000$ more expensive (than a same size gasoline engine) because of higher pressures involved (both peak head pressure as injection pressures) and exhaust treatment. Eventually we will arrive there: peak power demand with electrical motors and baseload with a single- or two-cylinder diesel engine. But it will take some twenty years, or even more, judging by the mental flexibility of automakers.

      • danwat1234

        The Volt doesn’t have an Atkinson cycle engine like what most hybrids have. Hopefully it will get one soon for respectable extended-range MPG.

  • Ian

    sorry about commenting on a dead post… forgot to check the date.

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