Volkswagen L1 Concept

Volkswagen unveils its 189mpg, 39g CO2/km, two-seater concept

Volkswagen has unveiled this mad concept, the L1, at the Frankfurt motor show, with some genuinely impressive headline figures for economy and a KTM X-Bow style monocoque chassis.

So it won’t set any pulses racing with its 99mph top speed and a 0-60mph crawl of 14.2sec, but a clever two-cylinder, 800cc, diesel-electric hybrid engine bolted to a 380kg carbon fibre and aluminium body means the L1 is capable of a whopping 189mpg on the combined cycle while emitting just 39g CO2/km.

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A 10-litre fuel tank then means the L1 can manage over 400 miles between stops.

As far as dimensions go, this strange-looking two-seater is 3.8m long, the same as a Volkswagen Fox, but just 1.1m tall – Lamborghini Murcielago height.  At 1.2m wide, it’s also thinner than any car on sale today.

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The common rail, direct injection TDI engine develops 27bhp at 4000rpm in ‘ECO’ mode, rising to a heady 29bhp when you press the Sport button, and putting out 74lb ft of torque from 1900rpm.  To help the performance along, this is combined with a 14bhp electric motor which only engages when accelerating, delivering 40 per cent extra torque.

This isn’t a first for Volkswagen, as a 1-litre concept was unveiled by the Wolfsburg manufacturer back in 2002, although putting the carbon fibre body into large-scale production at the time wasn’t possible so the project was shelved.  This super-economical L1, however, is a very real possibility, with sales projected within three to four years.

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