Volkswagen Confirms 2013 Production of XL1 Plug-in Diesel Hybrid

By · November 01, 2011

Volkswagen XL1

Volkswagen CEO confirms 2013 production of 261-mpg plug-in XL1.

Remember the Volkswagen L1 that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show back in 2009? If not, here's a brief refresher: The carbon-fiber bodied L1 concept was powered by a 0.8-liter two-cylinder diesel engine that cranked out 27 horsepower. That diesel engine was supplemented by a 10-kW electric motor housed inside the L1's seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. With a curb weight of only 838 pounds, Volkswagen claimed the L1 would return upwards of 170 miles per gallon.

Then, in January of 2011, Volkswagen unveiled the third generation of its fuel-sipping concept. The third-gen vehicle differed from its predecessor in several ways, but most notably was its addition of a port, which transformed the concept into a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Called the XL1, Volkswagen's lightweight concept boasted an electric-only range of 21 miles and measured in at 153-inches long, 66-inches wide and only 45-inches high. Weight shot up to 1,753 pounds, but the output from its diesel engine jumped to 48 horsepower and its electric motor cranked out 20 kW. Volkswagen claimed the XL1 concept could zip from zero to 62 miles per hour in 11.9 seconds and top out at 100 mph.

Most importantly, the XL1 retained its streamlined body and its ultra-efficient hybrid powertrain. At the time, Volkswagen announced the XL1 would return a remarkable 261 mpg—a questionable figure since it's based on Europe's lenient fuel economy test cycles. Nevertheless, we'd expect the production version to return approximately 150 mpg in "real world" driving and word is a production version is coming soon.

According to Automotive News Europe, Volkswagen chief executive officer, Martin Winterkorn, officially confirmed the 2013 launch of the two-seat XL1. ANE quoted Winterkorn, "We will start small series production by 2013—in Germany." That most likely equates to VW whipping out 100 or so production versions of the XL1 and selling them to the general public over in Germany. So, more of a field trial than a full-scale production vehicle, but hopefully VW brass will decide to eventually give the XL1 plug-in hybrid the mass production green light.

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