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Volkswagen Concept Car Averages 262 MPG 353

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-can-it-fly dept.
coolnumbr12 writes "The Volkswagen XL1 averages an amazing 262 mpg, and although it may never hit streets in the United States, the technology behind the car could impact future Volkswagen vehicles. The keys to the incredible mileage in the Volkswagen XL1 were reducing the weight of the vehicle and eliminating wind resistance. The XL1 only weighs 1,753 pounds — that's more than a thousand pounds lighter than the Toyota Prius, which weighs in at 2,921 pounds. The wheels on the Volkswagen XL1 are as thin as road bike's and wrapped in custom Michelin rubber. The XL1 chassis is a single piece of molded carbon-fiber, and has a drag coefficient of only 0.189 – similar to a bumblebee."
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Volkswagen Concept Car Averages 262 MPG

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:09PM (#44231983)

    I really can't be arsed to convert numbers that obviously were metric to begin with, back from bass-ackwards to metric, in my head or otherwise. As nerds you ought to have figured out which system* is better and have made a complete transition long ago.

    * One is an actual, well-integrated system, and that's but one reason it is superior to the other, which isn't.

  • Re:Metric Units. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:21PM (#44232089) Homepage Journal

    Why are the USA still not using them?

    Despite what some people will assert, it's due to weak government.

    For years we saw these stupid signs along highways, listing Metric and English speed limits and then they were quietly replaced with English ones only. Rather than just push people to accept and get the pain over with (retiring that stupid old system of weights and measures) the government caved to the moronic side of America.

  • Not 261 MPG (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:32PM (#44232177) Homepage

    Sensationalist bullshit. From the article:

    Volkswagen claims a consumption rating equivalent to 261 mpg; but that's using the full charge of the battery.

    310 miles in all, starting out on a charge, on its 2.6-gallon (yes, that's right) fuel tank.

    Not sure what "starting out on a charge" means, but if it means starting with zero battery power, the mileage is 119.23 -- and that is only according to the manufacturer. The test drive in the article was too short and limited to be meaningful.

  • by Chas (5144) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:33PM (#44232191) Homepage Journal

    Basically. The vehicle's so lightly built that a fricking DODGE OMNI will tear through you like you were toilet paper.

    Over in Germany, if someone spatters themselves on (or by the side of) the road, it's the driver's fault for not knowing their car.

    Here in the US, it's the manufacturer's fault for not making the car crash-survivable.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:34PM (#44232201) Journal
    That is the concept behind Tata Nano. It is very cheap and you could barely call it a car. But its CEO (at that time, not sure who is running the show now) Ratan Tata said "It is not an unsafe car. It is a safe motor cycle with four wheels and a roof" (I am paraphrasing). In India it is common to see an entire family, dad+mom+two+kids all piled up in one motor cycle or a scooter dodging potholes and weaving in out of traffic. Yes, such cars exist. But it is very unlikely to pass any safety test in USA/Europe/Japan/Korea.
  • Re:One problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cosgrach (1737088) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:45PM (#44232311)

    There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with rear wheel drive. (unless you don't know how to drive to begin with)

  • Re:Metric Units. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:54PM (#44232381) Homepage Journal

    No it's because we had a working system and didn't need a new one. Long may it live!

    Yeah... Nothing I enjoyed more than doing conversions of miles, feet, inches, tenths of inches, pounds, ounces (avoirdupois), gallons, fluid ounces and all that muck during Math, Chemistry and Physics classes, all the while there were these lovely decimal systems just itching to make everything much easier.

  • As far as I know, modern cars are designed to crumple, and smash externally in order to dissipate shock in an accident as much as possible.

    For instance, if you have a very rigid-bodied vehicle and a crumply-bodied vehicle, you'll most likely experience more acceleration in an accident with the stiff bodied vehicle, as the crumply vehicle takes more time to come to a complete stop. Going from 60mph to 0mph in 100 milliseconds exerts ~27.34G on the occupant. If you can double the period of acceleration from 100 milliseconds to 200 milliseconds, you can half the G load to ~13.67G, which is much more survivable.

    I don't know how much the crumple zones and pliability of the frame contribute exactly, but in life or death situations every little bit counts, as far as the highly risk averse public is concerned.

  • Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @08:50PM (#44232951)
    From T3rdFA:

    The XL1 has a 27-hp electric battery, which can propel it about 31 miles on its own, up to 62 mph. It can fully recharge, Volkswagen says, in an hour and a half. The maximum speed overall, using the full hybrid drivetrain, is 94 mph. Thereâ(TM)s a 2.6-gallon fuel tank, which lets the XL1 achieve a total range of 310 miles

    So subtract the 31 miles on battery, leaving 279 miles on gas, and it can get 107.3 MPG on gas alone. The 262 MPG figure probably comes from a shorter test drive where the first 31 miles were on battery, the remainder on gas, then attributing the total distance to gas. Which if I did my math right is a 52.5 mile run.

    Thing is, if you're going to cheat this way, why not just make it a 32 mile run and claim your car gets over 3400 MPG.

    It's also worth pointing out that outside of research, these ultra-high mileage vehicles are rather pointless. MPG is the inverse of fuel consumption, so higher MPG means smaller savings. e.g. Consider a trip of 300 miles in a variety of different cars:

    15 MPG SUV = 20 gallons consumed
    25 MPG sedan = 12 gallons consumed
    50 MPG hybrid = 6 gallons consumed
    100 MPG research car = 3 gallons consumed
    300 MPG super-car = 1 gallon consumed

    So if you consider a switch from an SUV to a super-car on a 300 mile trip, where exactly do the 19 gallons of fuel saved come from?

    8 gallons saved comes from the 10 MPG jump from 15 to 25 MPG.
    6 gallons saved comes from the 25 MPG jump from 25 to 50 MPG.
    3 gallons saved comes from the 50 MPG jump from 50 MPG to 100 MPG.
    2 gallons saved comes from the 200 MPG jump from 100 MPG to 300 MPG.

    The biggest fuel savings comes from the low end of the MPG range. The smallest savings from the high end. Or in other words, in a SUV to super-car switch:

    42.1% of the fuel savings comes from the 15-25 MPG jump
    31.6% of the fuel savings comes from the 25-50 MPG jump
    15.8% of the fuel savings comes from the 50-100 MPG jump
    10.5% of the fuel savings comes from the 100-300 MPG jump

    Diminishing returns says the cost-effectiveness of improving mileage rapidly drops off above about 50 MPG. If we want to reduce overall fuel consumption, we should be concentrating on ad campaigns to get people out of gas guzzlers into smaller cars. Not concentrating on designing ultra-high mileage vehicles.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @10:47PM (#44233769)

    As far as I know, modern cars are designed to crumple, and smash externally in order to dissipate shock in an accident as much as possible.

    This x 1000. Modern cars are designed to ablate and crumple as much as possible in order to protect the meat that crashed it.

    People without a clue as to how physics works in a car crash often lament that their 19-dicket-2 car hardly gets a scratch in a low speed collision and completely forget that in a mid speed collision the car also harldy suffers a scratch, but the driver and passengers ended up going to the morgue.

    The more bits that come off the car, the more crumpled it looks the less kinetic energy went into the occupants.

  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @12:34AM (#44234329) Homepage Journal

    BTW, I drive a six speed manual without traction control. I drive a lot better than most because I dont expect my car to pull me out of dangerous situations I get myself into.

    I am a completely mediocre driver with traction control, anti-lock brakes and as much safety tech as I can slap on a car. When I hit an unexpected patch of black ice, my computer chips will react far faster than any veteran race car driver that ever lived. Don't let pride blind you to to the advantages of technology.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @12:49AM (#44234395)

    BTW, I drive a six speed manual without traction control. I drive a lot better than most because I dont expect my car to pull me out of dangerous situations I get myself into.

    I am a completely mediocre driver

    And here in lies the problem. What if the computer fails and you find yourself in a situation where your driving ability is the only thing that can save you.

    Well you die.

    This is why things like emergency braking, losing control of the rear wheels and stopping with a blowout needs to be tested. You get blow a tyre at 80 KPH, Traction control wont help you if you cant drive. This is exactly what I'm talking about, the driver aid does not help your reaction speed, it does not make you a better driver. It just coddles you and tricks you into believing you have a higher skill level than you really do (as if the Dunning Kruger effect wasn't enough). As I said, what happens when that system fails or you have to drive a vehicle without them (or more likely, accidentally turn traction control off, I see a lot of drivers do this when fiddling around with the GPS/Radio)

    You'll also notice I left out ABS (because this is a good system) and electronic traction control (which is debatable) and focused on technologies that overtly make drivers complacent like parking asist.

    BTW, in case you missed it in the first post, I avoid dangerous situations rather then rely on my car to compensate for my lack of driving ability.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @03:19AM (#44235063)

    I am a completely mediocre driver

    And here in lies the problem. What if the computer fails and you find yourself in a situation where your driving ability is the only thing that can save you.

    Way to miss his point. Sooner or later, you will run into a situation where your driving ability cannot ensure your safety. Often, we survive by blind luck. It would be nice if we could use computers to improve our chances.

    I didn't miss his post, I got it completely.

    You have apparantly missed my post, in fact you couldn't have missed it more if you were aiming in the opposite direction and the point was in another country all together.

    Relying on computers to get you out of dangerous spots makes you more likely to get into them. It makes you complacent. As I said and as you conveniently missed, the best traction control system wont help you one iota when you have a tyre blowout at speed. I have had a blow out at 70 KPH, its not pleasant, but if you know how to control a car, easily survivable, if you're dependent on traction control to compensate for you, you're fucked.

    Also, if the roads are far too dangerous for me to be able to drive safely on traction control wont help one iota. We are talking about situations where traction is impossible at 20 KPH (as in extremely rare scenarios).

    BTW, in case you missed it in the first post, I avoid dangerous situations rather then rely on my car to compensate for my lack of driving ability.

    Cars are, by their nature, inhumanly powerful and fast. If you would "avoid dangerous situations," you should avoid interacting with them at all.

    And here you've demonstrated that you know nothing about driving.

    Cars can be driven safely, we've been doing it for decades. It's unsafe drivers who make them unsafe and one of the biggest factors that make people unsafe behind the wheel is complacency.

    I spot potential hazards before they happen. This is called "defensive driving" and is a very good skill for any driver. The day this can be replicated by a machine is the day the machine is driving the car. In the case of yourself and the GGP I think this is a good thing(TM).

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