(Phys.org) —VW's XL1 hybrid car made its official debut in the United States this past week at this year's Annual Society of Environmental Journalists conference in Chattanooga Tennessee—home of one of VW's hi-tech manufacturing plants. The vehicle has been dubbed by various media outlets as the "world's most efficient car." Testing has shown the vehicle to have a fuel consumption rate of 261mpg European-200mpg US. VW reports that the car is able to travel 32 miles when driven in all-electric mode.
The car has a sleek, aerodynamic look—the back wheels are covered and mirrors on the doors are digital cameras instead of the wind grabbing old-school variety—the body is also tapered. The XL1 is the latest entry by VW to make vehicles it calls 1-liter cars—those that consume just one liter of fuel when traveling 100 kilometers. The XL1 is considered a limited edition vehicle that VW is making to test demand. To achieve such high efficiency, VW has followed three main ideas: making cars that are light, aerodynamic and that have a low center of gravity. To that end, the car is made light (it weighs just 1,753 pounds) by using carbon fiber polymers, magnesium, ceramics and aluminum in its various parts. It's small as well, measuring just 153.1 inches in length, and 65.6 inches across and 45.5 inches from ground to roof.
VW has given operators several options when driving the vehicle—it can be run as an all-electric, all-gasoline, or as a hybrid. It can also be set to run in electric mode for cruising then jump to gas mode automatically if more power is needed for sudden acceleration. The XL1, despite its name, is actually the third generation of a line of 1-liter vehicles from VW—the first was so thin driver and passenger had to sit in tandem. The XL1 is the first such vehicle from VW to be made for sale to consumers, though initially, only a lucky 250. That's all the company is going to make unless there is added demand. VW has not yet announced when the car will be made for sale in the U.S. or how much it will cost.
Explore further: Volkswagen will debut XL1 hybrid at March auto show