The XL1 owes its unspeakably awesome fuel economy to the generous application of supercar technology. Question: How do you make the most of the engine power in a supercar? Answer: Make it lighter.
Some look at hybrid electric vehicle technology and think performance, while others take a more balanced view, or not.
Those interested in a hybrid electric vehicle that is tipping the scales on performance would like to take a look at the Bailey Blade EVR, which is rated at something like >500hp, but probably none too sippy when it comes to actual mpge. In the middle, there’s the Toyota Prius, or perhaps the Camry Hybrid, which balance the scale between performance and fuel economy using a hybrid powertrain that neither impresses on the track nor astonishes at the fuel pump.
What happens when Volkswagen engineers decide to tip the scales the other way? The result is the Volkswagen XL1 diesel hybrid electric vehicle, and it’s rated at better than 261mpg, or just 0.9ℓ/100km.
As it turns out, this is also the same answer to this question: How do you make a vehicle go further on a gallon of gasoline? The Volkswagen XL1 hybrid electric vehicle is extremely light, just over 1,900 pounds, and powered by a tiny 47hp 0.8ℓ i2 mated to a 27hp electric motor.
Despite its weight, reduced by using a lightweight carbon fiber monocoque [thank you, F1!] and minimizing stuff like power steering [totally unnecessary in something this light] and power windows [too heavy!], the XL1 is safe enough to survive a crash at 60mph. What you won’t find is supercar performance, and with just 74hp output, you’re going to hit 60mph in about 12 seconds.
On the other hand, this tiny hybrid electric vehicle with a mere 0.189cd, which makes the Toyota Prius‘ 0.29cd look like a flying brick, can get you from New York City to Miami, FL on two tanks of gas. The fuel tank is just 2.6 gallons.