I'm your volunteer in SOCAL for beta testing... just let me know.
21st February, 2013 @ 11:11 p.m. (California Time)
I would really love to cruise in one of these cars. It looks amazing, doesn't have that stupid geek look that all eco cars have.
I wonder what the price tag will look like.
22nd February, 2013 @ 1:20 a.m. (California Time)
This will be slow as hell.
22nd February, 2013 @ 2:54 a.m. (California Time)
Been following the PR on this from the late 1990s when it was chopped in favour of Bluemotion R&D. I am saddened by VW - the people's car - that this is going down the route of a 'toy of trendy celebrities and business executives for the foreseeable future' even though these are the author's words, it will be true. Bog off rich trendy people. You'll still have your 5 litre 4x4 in your purpose built garage.
VW should have the balls the manufacture this for the masses instead of the 'elite'. It is after all, how the greatest impact will be felt, not with a few celebs turning up at VIP events in it.
This vehicle needs to appeal and be mandatory to reps covering 100,000s miles. There should be massive corporate tax incentives for 100mpg+ vehicles, not the pitiful VED and BIK rates.
I hope VW is looking at the longevity and Circular Economy of this vehicle, and a degree of DIY servicing. Will the body shell be written off in a slight prang? This would then load the insurance beyond most, and certainly the under 25s.
A great opportunity, potentially hobbled by poor market research which merely follows market evolution than having the balls to move the automotive market on to where it should have been years ago.
22nd February, 2013 @ 3:15 a.m. (California Time)
I hope it sells really well and shows other brands how to do it. Perhaps wake a few of them up.
22nd February, 2013 @ 3:21 a.m. (California Time)
What a great little car, and thank goodness it will be "as slow as hell" as DaveBG so elegantly puts it, though in fact with that specification, it is not going to be too slow. Anyway, I imagine it will be the forerunner to a range of vehicles designed to suit the needs of larger families.
We live in an age where this type of vehicle is going to be essential. We are now clearly at 'peak oil' in as much as supply is struggling to keep up with demand and the recent increases in America will do little to counter the decline of so many of today's oil fields. Even the massive Ghawar oil field is in rapid decline according to some sources. (See Oil, Smoke and Mirrors on Youtube.)
I take my hat off to VW for having the courage to proceed with such and admirable project. All we need now is for the rest of the industry to wake up to reality. Let's face it, it isn't how quickly you can reach a speed where you can kill yourself that matters to most people, it is how far you can travel on the money you can afford to spend while doing so, which is clearly miles per gallon (or litres per 100 kilometers). While hidden in the background is the fact that this type of vehicle, assuming larger family friendly versions follow, will do wonders for tackling climate change. Let's just hope that it is not too late.
22nd February, 2013 @ 4:12 a.m. (California Time)
Volkswagon, the name means car for regular people. Can the limited edition and trendy rich pricing and get this thing out to regular people. Though it might increase the weight a bit they should also have an option for larger battery packs giving a bit more all electric range.
22nd February, 2013 @ 6:32 a.m. (California Time)
We don't need an economical shoebox.
We need an economical full size all-purpose car..
A Tesla at $50 K...
22nd February, 2013 @ 6:33 a.m. (California Time)
but the price is $107,000.
22nd February, 2013 @ 7:33 a.m. (California Time)
Right, Charles Hart. That's the deal-breaker. I couldn't be less interested. I'd rather continue to feed my truck all it can eat that have to get another mortgage to drive this POS.
22nd February, 2013 @ 8:17 a.m. (California Time)
Very nice looking car. Love those gull wing doors. I want one.
22nd February, 2013 @ 8:23 a.m. (California Time)
It looks like a well-engineered car. If they can build it, sell it, and make money doing it - great. But keep the government susidies out of the picture. We're (USA) already broke. $16 trillion debt is more than enough.
BTW, with the production of oil on private land, we are well on our way to energy independence. Build the Keystone pipeline and the refinery in SD. Lets quit sending billions of dollars to people who don't like us.
22nd February, 2013 @ 8:29 a.m. (California Time)
I'm glad to see VW putting some effort into fuel efficiency. Unfortunately, it looks like it'll be another ultra-fuel-efficient car priced for people who can afford to buy gasoline.
22nd February, 2013 @ 8:34 a.m. (California Time)
Has anyone considered that governments really don't like these kinds of developments, despite the PR. Increasing mileage to such an incredible extent DECREASES fuel taxes mightily. If you look at how much of a gallon or litre of fuel cost is taxes, you'll realize that those concerned...are concerned!
22nd February, 2013 @ 8:36 a.m. (California Time)
Thats an Ugly car. I hope it get the mileage they advertise, then work on it's appearance.
22nd February, 2013 @ 8:46 a.m. (California Time)
i love the tesla. and this car is fine, as is anything that cuts oil down.
peak oil, haha...check the tundra, etc.
22nd February, 2013 @ 8:51 a.m. (California Time)
Interesting to note that Ferdinand Porsche started out building electric vehicles and after looking at the Chrysler mini airflows copied that design. And ended up using air cooled ICE's
Lutz operated in the opposite direction starting out with ICE's and ending up with EV's (He knew that led acid would not work from the get go). But it has to be acknowledged that the GM Vehicles designed under Lutz before the chrisis have placed GM into a good position for the short time being since he was ousted by the idiot. Yet he is continuing with VIA electric trucks.
Covering the Progressive Automotive X-Prize it became evident that hitting and exceeding 100 MPGe was rather easily achievable and the Volt has been known to do just that. And it is interesting that GM endeavored to produce a mass market vehicle bevore coming out with the Glamor beauty. But that Convej has been ruined by the body engineers making subtle, damaging changes. How dare they?!
At the X-Prize the only vehicle to hit the 200MPG mark was the encased motorcycle, the Monotracer by Peraves from Winterthur. The owner of the company pointed out that if Detroit could mass produce it, the price would be dramatically lower.
So it will be fun to see what the Pro engineers will come up with and it would have been nice to see the second generation Volt after the gauntlet was thrown down.
Being an Architect I'd have to say that the Chicago Architect Sullivan had it right... Form and Function must be the same and that will automatically produce beauty... not Form follows function as his chief draftsman, Frank Lloyd Wright would later say. Gordon Buehrig proudly pointed out to me that the Transmission case for the Cord was form following function.
Beauty is actually achieved when function is pushed to the limits. And it is interesting here that the wheels appear to be motorcycle like as Bill Allison, Gordon's friend, pointed out to me were all that was necessary.
So is styling necessary... why of course! Ever look at a beautiful woman properly made up? It'll blow your socks off!
22nd February, 2013 @ 9:15 a.m. (California Time)
The price wasn't listed in this article or for that matter anywhere else. VW hasn't released the price but my guess and other experts in the field have estimated it will be between $35,000 - $70,000 which is the market rate for a vehicle with similar performance values such as the Leaf and Volt.
In the next 50 - 100 years most vehicles will be electric due to the emerging technologies (specifically fission and fussion) and expense of gasoline, so get used to them because your only going to see more and more of them.
22nd February, 2013 @ 9:21 a.m. (California Time)
Somehow a $100,000.00 car with a 32 mile all electric range doesn't sound good when compared to a Aptera which is "supposed" to sell for $25,000.00 and got just under 200 mile range at the XPrize contest. While the Aptera hasn't shown up yet (Due out starting in June), neither has the Volkswagon and the Aptera has actually produced a working model which you can check out at http://www.autoevolution.com/news/jay-leno-tries-out-the-aptera-ev-video-54277.html. It's to bad that Aptera had to be purchased by Jonway of China in order to make it to market in the US!
22nd February, 2013 @ 9:22 a.m. (California Time)
The car is a beauty and will help set standards for the automotive industry. My only concern is whether it will be allowed into the US. The technology is sure to filter down to domestic vehicles. I am hoping that this car will be produced with a small turbocharged gasoline engine to make it affordable to the public. Presently, both Nissan (Micro II) and Tata have small cars that get about 68-69 mpg using turbocharged 3 cylinder motors but both of these cars are not aerodynamic nor light for their sizes. I phoned Nissan to request sales information on a Micro II but I was told that the Micro II did not comply with US standards and would not be sold in this country. The reduction of weight and the improvement of aerodynamic qualities of the XL1 should be able to boost mpg's up over the 100 mark. I think that the weight of the three cylinder arrangement would actually be less than the present design of electric motor plus batteries and diesel and then manufacturing costs would plummet. Presently, the hybrid configuration is too expensive for most people to afford.
22nd February, 2013 @ 9:30 a.m. (California Time)
Doesn't VW already make a diesel car in Tennessee that gets 80mpg that is NOT sold in the US?
Doesn't Fiat's little car also get close to that in diesel form
for World distribution but NOT for the U.S.,either?
What about all those other amazing Microcars in Japan and Europe that get amazing fuel mileage?
Don't say that they don't pass safety rules-
what about all those trashy little scooters,mopeds and motorcycles that
I see those things on the freeway-
on a scooter if you hit a big bump at highspeed you get airborne with the only thing holding you on is your hands on the handlebars-
Are they safer?
HOW THE HECK DO BIG FREAKIN' SUV's
(that have up to TWICE the weight&motor displacement)
AND LITTLE MINIVANS GET ABOUT THE SAME FUEL MILEAGE AND NOBODY SEEMS TO NOTICE OR CARE IN THE U.S. ?
where did those guys that are still working on that diesel Avion car go to?
That one "only" got 118mpg going Canada to Mexico.
A car that gets 80mpg that is available for mass consumption is better than a car that gets 1000mpg that nobody can afford!
22nd February, 2013 @ 9:55 a.m. (California Time)
This new VW bears a close conceptual relationship to the Ford Europe Probe V concept car. Same layout, shape, doors and perhaps even the power train.
The Ford Probe V was the last of five Ford Europe prototypes designed with the objective of achieving 40 mpg in a family sized vehicle. Probe III went to production as the Ford Sierra and was a top seller with a variety of conventional motors and sold in the US as the Merkur XR4 with a performance power train. The Probe IV sold in Europe as the "Grenada" and was the "car of the year" when introduced. Larger and also with a variety of motors ranging from a Diesel 4 to a Cosworth DOHC V6. The top of the line "Scorpio" model with V6 and auto trans sold in the US as the Merkur Scorpio and achieves 30 mpg hwy.
Only two Ford Probe Vs were built and they were middle-motor, RWD two door, four-seat cars. Cd was in the range of 0.15 and power required at 100kph was only 5 kw. Ford canceled this research in the late 80s and it was reported that one powertrain considered for the Probe V was a gas-electric hybrid.
This research was carried out while Bob Lutz was in charge of Ford Europe and the cancellation of the Probe project coincided with his departure to head Chrysler.
22nd February, 2013 @ 9:56 a.m. (California Time)
Beautiful execution but, alas, too small for any practical application... maybe as small as the Lotus Exige; which is 2100lb and zero to 60 in 4 seconds, but a gas miser if handled with a light foot - and also a monocoque chassis. Love the diagonally-opening wing doors and drive train though.
Better to put in a boxer-config twin-cylinder diesel under the trunk like the smart car (and old VW van). That will give lots of room for a 2+2 on an extended chassis with suicide doors and a cargo hatch - or don't VW engineers like to eat?
22nd February, 2013 @ 9:58 a.m. (California Time)
And, if the wind is blowing 10mph, or a bumble bee hits the bumper, the car will crash off the road due to its light weight ;)
22nd February, 2013 @ 10:39 a.m. (California Time)
another successful step to make planet greener!
22nd February, 2013 @ 11:08 a.m. (California Time)
It would really say something if VW were to sell the XL1 at a reasonable price, say 30K before incentives. If they did they would just about eliminate the competition from Nissan and Chevy and really help reduce global warming. I would like to think that a much larger percentage of buyers would purchase the XL1 over not only other PHEV's but also ICE only high efficiency vehicles. As other comments have already pointed out, the XL1 looks a lot better than other hybrids not to mention a lot of economy cars.
22nd February, 2013 @ 11:48 a.m. (California Time)
Love the looks. Hope they don't reveal the rear wheels in the production model.
22nd February, 2013 @ 12:05 p.m. (California Time)
Interesting design concept. I like the fully integrated drive train at the rear. It can easily be used on a wide range of models.
I drive a 1999 Honda Insight mark I (The aluminium two seater) This car is similar in many ways but uses 3 liter / 100km. A brilliant car that today still looks as if it rolled out of the factory yesterday. It cost me $5000 to buy.
Exited about these cars not because of peak oil (Bullshit) or global warming (Bullshit) or any other environmental concern. I like things that are clever and efficient. Hauling your ass around town in a 2 tonne lump of steel is crazy from an aesthetic point of view.
But it will take a very long time before there will be a large enough group interested in this type of cars. Eventually it will all be about cost and simplicity (Maintenance)
Paul van Dinther
22nd February, 2013 @ 12:10 p.m. (California Time)
VW has been an important part of my life and I currently own a 2002 TDI Beatle.
I've driven Original Beatles from St. Louis Missouri to Acapulco Mexico and back, and Frankfurt Germany to Madrid Spain, and many miles daily comuting. Drove a VW Diesel Rabbit round trip from Santa Clara California to Cabo San Lucus in Baha Mexico.
The trip to Acapulco averaged 30 miles per gallon at 30 cents per gallon. That's 1 penny per mile, but $0.30 in 1963 ($47 for the 4,700 mile round trip) would be inflated to $2.26 today in 2013.
The new VW at 261mpg would compare at $2.61 per gallon to achieve 1 penny per mile in today's inflated pennies. Pretty impressive by any standard. - think I'll get one and head for Acapulco!
22nd February, 2013 @ 12:33 p.m. (California Time)
While the author seems to have been taken in by Oil Industry propaganda, and while I gave up trying to work my way through his writing style, I do love this car. It is the Son of Messerschmidt. I've been watching it for years. The Germans have always made the finest machinery in the world, even if it is sometimes a bit high strung. The fourth wheel will get the car around regressive US motorcycle laws., but otherwise is not needed. It won't be cheap, since the German economy hasn't been sold down the river yet. I suspect it will cost about half what one of those dual-cab 4WD 3/4 ton American pickups cost. As for speed, the office is not a place you need to race to. If you still have a job, that is.
22nd February, 2013 @ 12:33 p.m. (California Time)
Why do these auto makers seem to go from one extreme to the other such as some hotrod, not practical, and/or expensive sports car.....or some boring, slow (and still not that practical) small car. 261 mpg, why not a mid size car/SUV/minivan that gets 130 mpg, goes 0-60 in 8 seconds....something most people can and want to use. While I'm on my rant, why not work on improving economy on full size cars/SUVs/trucks that get 20 - 25 mpg? (or tractor/trailers, dump trucks, etc.) A 25% improvement in these is a far greater use of resources than a 25% improvement in a car that already gets 40-50 mpg. Ahhhh ranting!!!! feels good :)
22nd February, 2013 @ 12:34 p.m. (California Time)
Rear wheel drive? Where the heck these people live?! All the smart people who want vehicles like these live up nort' - don't they know that?! SHEESH!
22nd February, 2013 @ 2:45 p.m. (California Time)
Volkswagen continue their reputation for overpriced fashion accessories. You pay for the badge.
22nd February, 2013 @ 2:48 p.m. (California Time)
Rip out that wimpy 2 cyl diesel and shoehorn in a Chevy Rat!
Now you're talking :)
22nd February, 2013 @ 6:57 p.m. (California Time)
Why do these things always have to be that handcrafted carbon fibre $100,000 price tag crap? Why not make it of aluminum even if it gets then "only" 150 mpg and sell for a reasonable price?
22nd February, 2013 @ 11:09 p.m. (California Time)
Volkswagen has copied the shape of the Ford Probe V, with the front wheels exposed.
Not a lot of design progress since the Probe V was first shown in 1985.
22nd February, 2013 @ 11:30 p.m. (California Time)
The problem with the design is that they used a very expensive electric drive system.
I would use a pneumatic transmission with a 20 gallon (75.7 liter) carbon fiber pressure reserve tank that is powered by a uniflow (intake valves in the head and exhaust ports at the bottom of the cylinder) 2-cylinder 2-stroke turbo diesel compressor. (A crankless design using apposed cylinders with a double action piston compressor in between.) Use a Stirling cycle engine to harvest the waste heat/cold to power the secondary systems. If you were to go for the complication feeding the engine pure oxygen would make the engine run very clean and make the gas compressor immune to oil contamination.
re; Joe Acerbic
Carbon fiber does not need to be Hand crafted. The expense of carbon fiber has kept it used automotively only in limited production vehicles in which hand crafted is the more cost effective solution. Like fiberglass high production levels will result in automated production.
There are several interchanges in the Denver CO area that I do not use in a car with 6 second 0-60 because there is not enough room to accelerate for proper merging.
23rd February, 2013 @ 12:30 a.m. (California Time)
Well... Whooptee doo... Puhlease... give me a break and another copy of the " Space Merchants " to read or an update with more bells and whistles... Axial Vector Engine... the original designed back @ 1995-1997 ... a 100 Hp AVEC engine from back then before they spent the last 15 years dumbing it down... would have replaced the V-8 in my Dodge... giving me 300 ft. lb. tq. and 60 mpg on any fuel... on the fly... no need to purge the tank... that's all three military's everything at the pump including diesel, bio-deisel, palm oil, or straight ethanol... ask yourself where Emirate Capitol hid this at?
23rd February, 2013 @ 3:36 a.m. (California Time)
Axial Vector Energy seems to have gone the way of Pontiac.
23rd February, 2013 @ 1:49 p.m. (California Time)
It looks like a wonderful eco-toy..only for the rich...at first...but some of the technology will filter down to less expensive cars later.
However, the truth is that once fuel efficiency passes say 80 mpg, continued increases in efficiency simply have almost no economic impact.
8000 mi/year then will only use 100 gal and cost about $400. Going to 160 mi/gal will save only $200 per year. If it cost an extra $4000 to get to 160 mpg or the usage causes any significant inconvenience, there will be no mass market. It will only be a vechicle for hobbyists who can afford eco-luxuries. Going 12k mi per year does not change these conclusions really.
24th February, 2013 @ 1:15 a.m. (California Time)
It cracks me up when people say, "oh this car will never sell, its too small for practical purposes." Then why has there always been a market for little two seater cars like the Miata and Solstice? If it doesn't sell, I doubt it will be because it's a small car. It'll be more like price, range and looks.
24th February, 2013 @ 12:08 p.m. (California Time)
All already seen a long time ago - at least in regards of aerodynamics.
They could have copied and scaled down a Citroen DS5: Covered back wheels, flat under body covers, why not also the handy hydraulic level control and the moving headlights?
24th February, 2013 @ 7:51 p.m. (California Time)
This lacks the fun to drive feature that powers the sports car market.
24th February, 2013 @ 11:27 p.m. (California Time)
Just as a small point, I don't think it's a good idea to compare the aerodynamic coefficient of this, a car designed for minimum drag, to that of a supercar, which is designed to have as reasonably high downforce as possible (energy to press the car against the ground is taken from forward motion, thus increasing the aerodynamic coefficient. A formula 1 car might have aerodynamic coefficient of 0.7 when set up for max downforce, where-as a Toyota Prius (2004 model) has 0.24)
25th February, 2013 @ 2:59 a.m. (California Time)
Didn't the Chevy EV-1 have a COG of 0.19 also? Comparing to a performance car isn't really relevant since the latter has aerodynamic features balanced between drag and down force.
25th February, 2013 @ 1:07 p.m. (California Time)
I have read that the real world MPG is somewhere in the neighborhood of 126MPG, and it can be mass produced not like the winners of the xprize. Read. http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/geneva-motor-show-2013/radical-314mpg-vw-xl1-revealed
27th February, 2013 @ 9 a.m. (California Time)
Thanks for the great write-up, C.C. Weiss! CFRPs are made from large sections of woven carbon fabric. Imagine the weight and ‘carbon’ cost-reductions when, instead of “sheets” of carbon fiber, manufacturers use only “shards” (particulate) of carbon mixed in a molded plastic matrix. New developments like the ability to “process model” long GLASS fiber in plastic injection molding - are the precursor to a similar process now being researched by the DOE for carbon fiber “fragments” injection molded plastics. Think of it this way: You can deliver strength similar to carbon fabrics but using much less carbon! Add the fast cycle times of injection molding and a strong lightweight steering tie-rod can be made as quickly as a milkjug. When the strength of carbon meets the speed of injection molding the landscape for lightweighting autos with plastics will change dramatically.
For more on carbon fiber car parts, visit: http://www.facebook.com/plasticcar and http://www.plastics-car.com/Resources/Resource-Library/Long-Glass-Fiber-Molding.html
Rob Krebs, Market Innovations, American Chemistry Council
6th March, 2013 @ 8:17 a.m. (California Time)