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Volkswagen Unveils 313 MPG XL1, Slates Production For 2013 417

An anonymous reader writes "Volkswagen just unveiled a new car at the Qatar Motor Show that gets an astounding 100km for less than a liter of diesel fuel – that's the equivalent of 313 miles per gallon! The XL1 concept car is an upgraded version of the VW L1 vehicle, and it features an ultra-efficient diesel engine in addition to an electric motor that is powered by a lithium-ion battery. The vehicle is currently slated to enter production in 2013 and is expected to cost approximately $29,500." Autoblog calls it 261 mpg, which isn't too shabby, either. At less than a thousand pounds empty, I hope this comes with a really good bike lock.
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Volkswagen Unveils 313 MPG XL1, Slates Production For 2013

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  • by KlomDark ( 6370 )

    Just wow. Speechless. Very cool.

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:25PM (#35024470)

      Just like the "1 Liter" car or the "3 Liter" Lupo, you won't be able to buy it outside Germany. Which is sad. Best you could find in the United States is the 70mpg Honda insight, but it was discontinued due to lack of interest. :-(

      All I need is a commuter car. That's it, and any these high MPG units from Volkswagen would be more than adequate. I don't require a Ford Living Room SUV.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        You can get a used older insight or a Golf TDI.

      • While I'll believe it when I see it on dealer lots, there's reports that 100 will be made, and some may make it to the US and China.

        Or, just wait another 13 years, and there'll be Lupo 3Ls that are old enough to import legally as classic cars.

        Or, move to Canada and wait 3 years, and those same Lupos will be old enough.

  • Hey, at least it isn't as fugly looking as most every other 'green' car that is coming out....except for the covered rear wheels...I kinda like it.

    I wonder what its 0-60mph times are? Top speed?

    • "Top speed?"

      Oops...reread the article...99MPH.

      Hmm..not too good, you could get run over on some patches of highway down here doing that...

      I'd take a bit less mileage if they could improve the top speed and what I'm guessing are fairly abysmal 0-60mph speeds. It sure looks sport though!!!

      • Re:Not fugly... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Altus ( 1034 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:00PM (#35024114) Homepage

        the light weight is actually kind of worrisome too. Around here crosswinds are nasty for the current crop of small cars when running on the highway, this thing barely weighs as much as my motorcycle and has a much larger cross section. I could see it being kind of scary to drive on the highway unless its got some serious aerodynamic down force.

        • How does it handle in snow and ice, is my question....

          My guess would be... shittily.

          • by Altus ( 1034 )

            given its ground clearance you can pretty much forget about using this in the snow.

          • At this weight, it's almost like a snow machine. If it gets stuck in a snow bank, just pick it up, and get back to driving. If you're really serious about how it handles in ice and snow, just throw some blizzaks on there. It will probably handle fine. I wonder if they would change the law to let you use studded tires. With such a light car, you wouldn't cause much damage to the roads.
        • I could see it being kind of scary to drive on the highway unless its got some serious aerodynamic down force.

          If it had serious aerodynamic down force, they would lose a lot of fuel economy. There's a good reason most sports cars have surprisingly high coefficients of drag.

      • Re:Not fugly... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Bitsy Boffin ( 110334 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:27PM (#35024502) Homepage

        99 mile An Hour is too slow??

        That's near enough to 160 K/hr!

        I think it would be safe to say that in most parts of the world that speed is going to get you walking home after the authorities take your licence.

      • >>>you could get run over on some patches of highway down here doing that...

        Really??? I've never been any place in the US where drivers moved faster than 90 (actual speed limit was 85).

        Oh and I wouldn't be using Lithium with cars. Like bourbon and beans, an explosive combination! NiMH would be a better choice, especially since NiMH doesn't contain any toxic metals/chemicals to damage the environment.

    • I don't know that I agree with you... I don't think this is a very attractive car at all.

      That said, it would still be worth looking into. I don't try to make a statement with the appearance of my car.... I got over that when I was about 20.

      I'm curious though. I don't know enough about battery technology, and probably wouldn't understand if I hit a few websites to learn more at the deeply technical end of the pool. Is LI the only way to feasibly go on these? You cannot refurbish LI, so it would seem you'

      • Is LI the only way to feasibly go on these? You cannot refurbish LI, so it would seem you're creating another non-green problem by using cars like this.

        I'm surprised sodium-sulfur batteries haven't gotten more attention. High power density, similar energy density to L-I, very high cycle count. The internals are corrosive, but no worse than existing lead acid cells. The only significant problem I see is that the batteries must be maintained at temperature, so they will have a fairly high self-discharge rate if you leave your car sit for long periods.

  • Okay, so expect some bumps the 2013 year - but it doesn't look like an overgrown scooter either!

    But maybe by 2015 a $100 gas card might last a month!

    Heh - But how expensive is recharging the battery?

    • This American drives an S40. I actually have a pickup that rarely gets driven, and is only used for (shocker) hauling stuff when I need to. My S40 is terrible when it comes to picking up lumber.

    • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:07PM (#35024216) Homepage


      Film at 11: Crash.

      One word: Rollover []. Sadly, many places in the US still have decreasing radius turns (cloverleaf off-ramp), and this, combined with the dangerously high center-of-gravity of the average SUV results in statistically abnormal rollover rates. In fact, driving an SUV is not only more dangerous for the SUV driver, but everyone else around.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )


        If you can't drive it on our roads get them off the street. SUVs and their drivers suck,

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Why would you? If I lived in Alberta(or the canuck plains) I'd own a pickup, well if I lived in any of the plains states too. Why? Because we get some pretty extreme weather from one day to the next. 10" of snow? Meh go on with your day in North America(unless you're in parts of the mid-east). 10" of snow in Europe? Countries shut down. Get 5.6' of snow in 2 days in Canada? Whatever, life as normal.

      Luckily the most we get in a 'dump' here is around 3' at one time. But 12-25" of snow in a single da

      • Just like Florida and the rest of the south shutdown, Michigan goes "Meh." In the same way Italy and France probably shut down while Russia/Sweden/Norway probably go 'meh'.. Lumping all of Europe together is as bad as lumping all of the states together.

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Considering sweden and norway have shut effectively down for 6-15" of snow? Yeah that's pretty mediocre. Russia and Canada are pretty close to what extreme winter weather can be.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        I live in an area with such snowfall, I drive a little toyota car. Does fine.

    • Sure. The moment they build a vehicle that gets 200 mpg whilst carrying our family and three rescue dogs, towing the trailer I use to gather firewood, and doesn't cost like a lamborghini, I'm all over that sucker.

      • by Miseph ( 979059 )

        I doubt you ever really need to do all of those things simultaneously, and you could almost certainly rent a capable vehicle on those occasions when you would.

        Of course, that's not your real point, you just want to make excuses for driving a gas guzzling eyesore while retaining some smug self-righteous superiority over anyone who would dare to call you a fool for it.

  • It's great to see diesel-electric hybrid technology [] reach the consumer market so quickly!

    In all seriousness though, this is very neat stuff (and I'm sure someone will point out how my submarine reference is totally inapplicable...).
    • Yeah, that's how trains [] have been running here for decades. The engines were a little large for smaller practical purposes though :)

    • Diesel-electric drives are not hybrids any way you want to look at it. There is only one type of motor directly attached to the propulsion unit. There is only one type of motor generating power. It's an electric drive with a generator, or a diesel drive with a fancy transmission, but not a hybrid.

      Either way, I doubt this car has such a setup. The article mentioned a 7-speed gearbox. The only reason you would do that is if you were connecting the engine directly to the drive train and wanted to ensure e

      • >>>Diesel-electric drives are not hybrids any way you want to look at it.

        Nonsense. By that reasoning, Honda Insight and Civic are not hybrids. BUT you've overlooked that different KINDS of hybrids exist:
        - series
        - parallel

        Honda and Volkswagen are doing Parallel hybrids with both engine and motor attached to the driveshaft, and yes the word "hybrid" applies. In contrast a train would be a Series hybrid: Engine---motor---driveshaft.

  • by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @04:49PM (#35023952)

    While the tech is very cool and impressive, I always laugh at cars like this with a "sport" mode. In this case, the car has a "sport" mode of 39hp, for an astounding 99mph. I don't think the type of person who will want this car cares about driving super fast, and the type of person that does want a fast car won't want this one. Why try catering to both markets?

    • by skids ( 119237 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @04:55PM (#35024038) Homepage

      Because it allows to to convince the SO you share the car with who just cannot stand reasonably powered cars that on Tuesday's when s/he drives it to the mall s/he can hit the "sport" button and won't have to "sacrifice" his/her ability to cut off trash trucks from the right-turn-only lane at stoplights.

      For the first few years I owned a Prius, I considered it my environmental duty to drive like an ass, because the hybrids would never have caught on unless Americans saw that you could, indeed, drive like an ass in them.

      • Re:"Sport" mode (Score:4, Insightful)

        by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:24PM (#35024440)

        Most people who want to have fun with their car would rather a "traction control off" button over a "sport" button.... I know I made sure that my new car has that button before I bought it.... :)

        • Agreed. My parents used to own a New Yorker and the very first thing my Dad would do when he got in to drive was turn off the traction control. It was the hot rodder in him. Now I own a New Yorker as well (not the same one) but I don't drive it enough to care.

          I will say those cars were pretty quick though - My Dad dusted a couple of Camaros in it.
    • I don't think the type of person who will want this car cares about driving super fast, and the type of person that does want a fast car won't want this one. Why try catering to both markets?

      Maybe it is a single market but that market uses it in two different ways. For example, as a commuter car this might make for real savings, but not have quite enough top end to make everyone comfortable driving on the expressway where the flow is going 80 and you might need to accelerate to get out the way in some circumstance. As a result, you make a dual mode car that saves the most gas, around town and saves a lot of gas and can still be safe on expressway trips. Calling it a "sport" mode does seem a lit

    • by Altus ( 1034 )

      my guess is that sport is the only way to go on the highway but buy having a low power mode they can make city driving much more efficient.

    • Re:"Sport" mode (Score:4, Informative)

      by Scootin159 ( 557129 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:02PM (#35024138) Homepage
      At 1000 lbs 40hp actually is very sporty. In fact, most Formula Vee race cars will reach 120mph and post lap times comparable to a Z06 Corvette.
    • That's the "try to get on the freeway and maybe not die" mode, as opposed to the "try to get on the freeway and almost assuredly die" mode.

      My first car was a Mazda GLC with ~87HP. That was barely enough. At the time my father had an Isuzu diesel pickup with ~65HP which wasn't enough.

      • My first car was a Mazda GLC with ~87HP.

        Mine too. 1980. Station wagon. Rust colored. (Not rusty, rust colored.)

        That terrible car has a special place in my heart.

        • I had the "5 door" white, looked like an egg. And for some odd reason I agree with you, to the tune of looking once in a while for one for sale to drive around in it a bit. It would be a lot cheaper than my second car, which was a '72 Challenger.

    • Because sometimes you want to sacrifice a bit of efficiency for the extra safety of doing something like coming up to traffic speed more quickly on a very short entrance ramp.

      Many Slashdot users seem to think performance is all about unsafe driving; those who are experienced and careful drivers know that anything that more quickly lets you remove a speed differential between you and traffic (either acceleration or braking) is more safe.

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @04:50PM (#35023970)

    ...and will not touch it with enthusiasm mainly because its products lose their value so much as compared to the competition in every category.

    In addition, the VW is quite complex even when it comes to a simple oil or a timing belt change. That's my beef with VW.

    I wish them well on this one though.

    • In addition, the VW is quite complex even when it comes to a simple oil or a timing belt change.

      Don't know about the timing chain, but the fan belt [] seems easy enough to change...

    • And with battery powered vehicles like this how long will they last?

      I have a perfectly good Chevy GMT400 pickup that will be 20 years old this spring and only has 70,000 miles on it.

      It's been good in the hot and cold of South Dakota, the rain of Oregon and now the cold of Alaska.

      This VW is carbon fibre, something which there are questions about safety for commercial airplanes like the B-787 and A-350, we don't know how well it's going to stand up to weather over time. []

      • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:38PM (#35024716)

        This VW is carbon fibre, something which there are questions about safety for commercial airplanes like the B-787 and A-350

        I heard that Boeing tried developing a plane made entirely out of mild steel, but it was so heavy and weak that it couldn't safely take off. To make matters worse, it rusted out after a few years. That's why I refuse to ride in most any car on the road today.

    • Lose value? You must not have been looking at the TDIs.

      In 2006 I was looking for a new car, the Golf TDI was just the ticket. Only problem was getting one. We looked for a few months for a used one. We found a number of 2000-2004 Golf TDIs with 50k+ miles on them. The cheapest one was $16,000, and had close to 100k miles on it. We finally tracked down a new 2006 model and paid $21k for it.

      We actually refinanced the loan, using the Golf as collatoral, so we could merge our two car loans together a few years

    • VW diesels hold their value quite well, thank you. Compare any tdi from the last 10 years versus anyone else's gasser of similar size and shape then get back to us.

      Yes, timing belt changes are somewhat painful. But at every 100K miles, who really cares? Most gassers are dead or dying by that point, so it's pretty much comparing apples to tampons.

  • Bad summary info (Score:5, Informative)

    by olsmeister ( 1488789 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @04:53PM (#35024008)
    This [] seems to be a better article. It mentions that the weight of the vehicle is around 1,750 pounds. Not sure where TFS got their figure of less than a thousand pounds from. They are also speculating that the 261 mpg figure does not count the contribution of the batteries.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Once you put in the average American driver, you'll hit that weight.

    • 790 kg (1,741.7 lb) 970 kg (2,138.5 lb),
      USA 1,750 lb (790 kg) 2,145 lb (973 kg)

      Quite the improvement from the 1970's :rolleyes: Exotic materials and that's all they could save?

  • Gallons to gallons? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2011 @04:53PM (#35024010)

    261*1.2 = 313

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:22PM (#35024410) Homepage

      +1 Insightful

      This was at the Qatar Motor Show. According to Wikipedia, the United Arab Emirates switched to liters for their standard unit of fuel measurement in 2010, but they used imperial gallons before that. Qatar is not in the UAE but I figure it's close enough. 261 imperial gallons is 313 gallons.

  • "of 313 miles per gallon..Autoblog calls it 261 mpg,..."

    and in the actual article, the link to the second page is ""
    • Math is wrong for 313. 261 mpg is 110.96 kilometers per liter, which fits with the 100 kilometers per 0.9 liter they quote.
    • by eltonito ( 910528 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:08PM (#35024244)
      FWIW, the two stated mileages in the summry are effectively the same, but they are stating it in two units of measure. The 313MPG figure is miles per imperial gallon, which is 261MPG by US units. That being said, I have no idea how to get that to 235MPG unless Qatar has invented their own mile or gallon.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:04PM (#35024168)

    The ratio of 313:261 is the same as for Imperial:US gallon. The 313 claim was reported by Timon Singh who is apparently a resident of the UK, and thus likely more familiar with Imperial than US gallons.

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:04PM (#35024172)

    If they spend so much time one getting the weight down for better fuel efficiency how much will it get hindered with people and stuff in the car. Morbidly Obese people could be 400 or 500 lbs and still be able to actually drive the car. You get two in there and you actually double the cars weight... How much will it cut fuel effiency with extra weight. Heck 4 men at 250 lbs would more the double its weight.

    • Hey, if someone is morbidly obese, then he obviously has bigger problems to worry about than his car's MPG. One or two average Joes at 200 lbs commuting with this car should be able to get >150mpg quite easily even accounting for their weight, which is still very awesome.
    • Heck 4 men at 250 lbs would more the double its weight.

      This is a two-seater. Those 4 men would be sitting on top of each other. NTTAWWT.

  • Being able to see behind you, that is so 1992. Should be fun when police cars try to pull over these beauties for lack of proper safety equipment.

  • GM, Volkswagen, etc are pushing these super high MPG figures to tweak the CAFE numbers so they can keep making cars like the Corvette, Tourareg, Phaeton and for Volkswagen's parent company, Volkswagen AG - Lamborghini, Bentley, and Bugatti. []

    • Supercars are statistical outliers. If they're using those cars to cheat mpg fuel efficiency requirements, it's so they can avoid raising the mileage of ordinary cars like the Passat. If you're an environmentalist or a peak oil weirdo and you're worried about supercars, you're wasting your time.

  • For cars that have an electric propulsion component that is charged off-line (i.e., not by the on-board hydrocarbon engine), calculations of miles/gallon or km/l are highly suspect as they assume a certain pattern of driving. Figures such as 313 miles per gallon can be considered accurate only the the likes of governments (e.g., the United States) who can fiddle with accounting in the most obscene ways. Hell, why not just round up to infinite miles/gallon since that is what a person who drives only short di
  • by pleb1024 ( 786643 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:06PM (#35024208)
    the difference in the MPG will be cause by the difference in gallon sizes between USA and the rest of the world. US Gallon approx 3.78 litres Imperial Gallons: approx 4.54 Litres. so - and imperial gallon is 1.2 the size of US gallon. 313MPG/1.2 = 261MPG. And this is why the US should move to the damn metric system, or at least use the same size gallon as the rest of the world.
  • This may be my American sensibilities showing through, but what I want to know is why, for the love of god, the European standard for fuel economy is liters/100km? Why not km/liter, which is a much more convenient format for any sort of day-to-day use, and is in keeping with the standard format measurement of efficiency (Output/Input)?

    What advantage does using L/100km convey? I am honestly interested

    • It may have something to do with this []. (I realize the article is not in metric units but the concept remains.)
    • Re:L/100km? (Score:4, Informative)

      by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:20PM (#35024386) Homepage Journal

      It makes some comparisons a little easier. The distance you want to go is, in a sense, constant, while the amount of gas you use (aka the money you have to spend) is the variable. Some Duke researchers even got a journal paper out of it: []

      (That's a popular account; the original article is in Science, behind a paywall.)

      The key comparison: going from 18 mpg to 28 mpg saves 198 gallons of gas over 10k miles, but going from 34 to 54 mpg (again, 14 mpg) saves only half as much (94 gallons).

      Slashdotters are used to doing the math in their heads and probably don't much care, but for the less math-aware, having the constant of the distance they want to go in the denominator makes the math more intuitive.

    • by rkww ( 675767 )

      why, for the love of god, the European standard for fuel economy is liters/100km?

      Because it's a measure of fuel consumption.

    • by iksbob ( 947407 )

      >What advantage does using L/100km convey?
      Volume-per-distance (L/100km) decreases as fuel consumption decreases, where as distance-per-volume (MPG) increases as fuel consumption decreases. In that case, volume-per-distance sounds more logical as it's a direct relationship.
      If you come at the question from the other angle, comparing efficiency rather than consumption, distance-per-volume (MPG) makes more sense since it increases as efficiency increases.

  • by Caerdwyn ( 829058 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:26PM (#35024480) Journal

    "Production" consists of 100 cars worldwide []. That's less than one tenth of the number of EV1 [] cars produced.

    Until I can buy one at my local VW dealership, it ain't real and it ain't relevant. The world is full of "someday I'm gonna make this".

    In any event, I have serious doubts it will meet US safety standards. As for the mileage claims... a low cD and a low frontal area and all that are nice, but you can't cheat physics. It takes a certain amount of energy to move a car around, and there's no getting around that. Even a little 50cc scooter only gets a little over 100mpg [], and we're being told a two-passenger car capable of going 100mph with a vehicle weight of 1750 pounds [] gets three times that? I doubt it. In fact, I'll just plain call bullshit; that figure has to include propulsion from a full battery pack. Show me distance traveled where the battery pack has the same state at the beginning and conclusion of the run while burning 1 gallon of fuel; THAT is the "miles per gallon" that can ethically be claimed.

    All that being said, it's not a bad-looking car (as eco-pharisee-mobiles go). I'd like to see it succeed, but first it has to be real and it has to be honest. There's also the little matter than I'm 6'2" tall with a 36" inseam. If it only fits oompa-loompas like the Lotus Elise (which I absolutely do not fit into, and believe me I've tried), forget it.

  • Amazingly it even manages to go 250 miles before using any petrol! It's almost as if the vehicle had some magic store of energy! 60KWh of magic energy!

    Are we going to get endless BS milage figures gained from running hybrid cars off of fully charged batteries for these tests?

    I can say with 100 percent certainty that my car does infinity MPG! I tested it with the engine off and it rolling down a hill but that's still about as valid as this crap.
  • by bugs2squash ( 1132591 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:29PM (#35024540)
    Has been rear ended by two different sedans now. Both of them crumpled somewhat. I think I see a small scratch in my rear fender. The Tacoma's only a small pickup (it's not the latest version) and I've been really pleased with how solid it is and I can live with the gas milage considering I don't drive more than 4000 miles/yr. I can't see this VW surviving much in the way of a minor accident, even if the occupants are unhurt; it looks to me as if the car's structural components are largely sacrificial.
    I wonder what kind of a crash rating a production version of it would get.
    • by eth1 ( 94901 )

      Collision insurance would be a bitch, too. Since it's all carbon fiber... A: where the hell would you take it to get it fixed, assuming, B: it can be fixed. I suspect it would cost so much that the insurance company would consider it totalled after even a relatively minor crash, meaning that you'll probably make up the gas savings in insurance.

    • it looks to me as if the car's structural components are largely sacrificial

      Yes, they are.

      1. Energy that can be absorbed by the structure of a car is energy that is not converted into rebound motion. This reduces the total amount of acceleration the passengers experience.

      2. Increasing the distance through which the energy is absorbed increases the amount of time during which that absorption takes place. This reduces the rate of acceleration (maximum G forces) the passengers experience.

      A car will achiev

  • 313 (miles per Imperial gallon) = 110.8 kilometers per litre (says Google). So 0.90 litres for 100 km. That's quite a lot less than a litre.
  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:32PM (#35024594)

    Vehicles tuned to efficiency seem to take a big hit from peak mileage depending on driving conditions.

    For the Prius, a long flat trip in nice weather results in 60mpg. Take short (less than 5 minutes) trips and lose ~5-10mpg due to warm up time. Drive in cold weather and lose ~5mpg to engine heat loss. Run in cold/wet weather with the front defrost on and lose ~10mpg.

    It would be interesting to see this new car tested in those environments.

    • Vehicles tuned to efficiency seem to take a big hit from peak mileage depending on driving conditions.

      Try measuring more useful terms like liters per 100km.

      Say that you have two cars. Both only see 80% of their normal mileage in these conditions. In optimal conditions, one gets 10 mpg, the other gets 60 mpg. The first car will only lose 2 mpg, the second will lose 12 mpg. However, in 10 miles, the first car used an extra .25 gallons. The second car used an extra .04 gallons.

    • True, but still a great increase over the other models. My Beetle TDI achieves 50+ in warm weather, and that's averaged over a tank of about 50/50 between short high runs, and slower, around town driving. Plus, my car's shipping weight is almost 2900lbs.

      In winter, I get closer to 35mpg, but I don't have a coolant heater. This is the only car I've ever found to get similar mileage whether it's left idling or off for two hours at -10F.

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