The new VW XL1 is the car of the future, but how far in the future is anybody’s guess.
For instance, the vehicle is a hybrid that uses a small diesel motor to supply power for an electric generator to keep the battery charged. It also has a carbon fiber so it weighs about half as much as the average American sedan.
Like most highly fuel efficient vehicles the XL1 only seats two, so it’s not exactly a family car. And diesel fuel has not been popular among US new car buyers since the diesel fuel debacle on the 1980’s when diesel vehicles were clunky, noisy and belched a lot of black smoke.
Also, to save weight, only a cut-out in the window rolls down, not the entire thing, and perhaps worst of all, the vehicle has a top speed of just 99pmh.
For American consumers who have become increasingly addicted to power, size and speed, switching to the XL1 would be an extreme sacrifice. Forget about cross-country road trips with the kids–no room. And you might want to consider using an alternate vehicle if you are going to the airport because storage space too will be limited.
But for car buyers looking for the most economical commuter vehicle to get them back and forth to work, the VW XL1 might just fit the bill. With 261mpg you could make 6 trips back and fort to work (with an average of about 40 miles per trip) on just one gallon of diesel. Although diesel fuel is selling for about 50 cents more per gallon than gasoline that’s still a bargain. What remains to be seen, however, is the price tag. So far VW has not said how much they will be asking for the new XL1 nor how many they anticipate selling. Those are important questions for an automaker, but ones that VW seems willing to forgo for the moment in favor of showing off the world’s most fuel efficient vehicle.