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The Volkswagen XL1 is a two-seat, limited production, diesel-powered plug-in hybrid that VW introduced in 2014. Volkswagen was developing PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) technologies, and wanted to test them in real-world scenarios. While 250 examples were reportedly built, only 200 were made available for sale to the public.
The XL1 car was touted as able to achieve 260 mpg, thanks to a combination of lightweight materials, a very aerodynamic body, and a combination diesel engine, electric motor, and transmission that was designed and tuned for economy. The main body tub is carbon fiber, which helps the XL1 achieve an amazing 1,750 lb curb weight. Special attention was paid to the aerodynamics as well. In lieu of traditional side mirrors, so-called “e-mirror” cameras were affixed to the doors to reduce drag; monitor screens are mounted inside the door panels to provide rear visibility. Note the lack of a rear window. Spats cover the inset rear wheels, which helps the XL1 slips through the air at a spaceship-like drag coefficient of 0.186.
Manufacturer: Volkswagen A.G.
Country of Origin: Germany
Drivetrain Configuration: Rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: (diesel) Water-cooled, 800cc, turbocharged two-cylinder, 47hp; (electric) 20 kW motor (27hp) Combined output: 51kw (68hp)
Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch automatic
Top Speed: 100 mph (electronically limited)
Years of Production: 2014
Number Produced: 250
Original Cost: $146,000 USD