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Thursday, May 8, 2008

VW Confirms 1L Concept Will Become Reality in 2010

mage source: Wikipedia

There’s been talk about the VW 1L concept for years. Since VW built the original, fuel economy, safety, price, and release date has been speculated upon and argued about, and I’d finally stopped thinking it was ever going to happen. However, according to VW’s CEO, it should hit the market in 2010.

The VW 1L is so named because, in theory, it only consumes one liter of fuel per 100 kilometers traveled. For those of us in the US, this translates into about 235 MPG. Definitely far and above anything on the market currently. The concept, developed in 2002, actually got better fuel economy, scoring a sweet .89L/100km in VW testing. It’s likely to use more fuel in real world use, but with that kind of mileage in testing it’s unlikely that anyone would complain about an “unsatisfactory 200 MPG.”

The thing is, that kinda of fuel economy comes at the price of riding in an extremely small two seater, with the two seats being one in front of the other, a la jet plane, rather than a standard side by side. The 1L also looks frighteningly close to the ground, which is part of how it pulls off a drag coefficient of .159, much better than any current production vehicle. While the final design isn’t done, VW will probably power the car with a 1 cyclinder diesel engine of displacement lower the .5 L, meaning the car’s speed will top out at 120 km/h.

The other obvious issue is the one I’m sure you’re all wondering about too. How safe is this thing? While I’m not usually one to complain about small cars, the 1L is extremely light and low to the ground. If it were released in the US I could easily see it being run over by any old F150 or Hummer. Nothing is out right now about safety, but as the production date nears, I’m sure VW will be doing lots of testing to reassure the public.

2010 isn’t that far off, in fact, it’s about the same time the Volt is supposed to be hitting the streets, so you’ll likely hear a lot more good and bad about this car in the coming months.

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