If you think your Toyota Prius is efficient then point your hemp seed spectacles over here for a second. This bonkers-looking thing is the Volkswagen XL1 and according to its makers it can do 313mpg. That’s not a typo, either. We’ll spell it out for you: three hundred and thirteen miles per gallon.
So the VW XL1 is apparently as frugal as it is weird-looking; too weird to actually enter production, you might think, except Volkswagen has confirmed it will actually build the thing.
The XL1 is is a plug-in hybrid. It uses a two-cylinder, 0.8-iltre TDI diesel engine derived from a four-cylinder, 1.6-litre unit. This is paired to a 20kW (27bhp) electric motor feeding off a 5.5kWh lithium-ion battery and the two can work together or independently.
While the VW XL1’s battery is relatively tiny (a Nissan Leaf uses a battery almost five times the size) the car weighs just 795Kg, about half as much as a standard hatchback. It also has what VW describe as ‘perfect aerodynamics’ and a fish-like drag coefficient of 0.189. A Chevy Volt’s is a comparatively brick-like 0.28.
As a result, it is able to drive in electric-only mode for a very respectable 50km.
With both the diesel engine and electric motors on full song, the VW XL1 can call on a total of 140Nm of torque from a standstill. This helps it accelerate from 0-62mph in a relatively nippy 12.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 99mph.
The VW XL1 won’t be the most practical of vehicles. It is strictly a two-seater and its luggage compartment offers a paltry 120 litres of storage space – about half as much as you’d find in Honda Civic. That said, we doubt you could find three friends to willingly ride with you in something so bizarre-looking.
The VW XL1 is due to enter production at Volkswagen’s Osnabrueck factory in Germany. It’ll go on show at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show where we’ll be on hand to investigate it more thoroughly. While you wait, enjoy these pictures.