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Volkswagen XL1: the most efficient production car in the world

Press Release   •   Feb 28, 2013 13:17 GMT

·  As early as 2000, Prof. Dr, Ferdinand Piëch, who is today Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, had the goal of bringing a production car to market that was practical yet offered a low fuel consumption of one litre per 100 km.  In the XL1 this has become reality

·  XL1 draws on lessons learnt from the 1-Litre car (2002) and the L1 concept (2009); a prototype of the XL1 was shown at the Qatar Motor Show in 2011

·  Now seen in production guise, the two-seat XL1 is the most fuel-efficient production car in the world, with a consumption value of 0.9 l/100 km or 313 mpg and CO2 emissions of 21 g/km

·  The XL1’s plug-in hybrid system consists of an 800 cc two-cylinder 48 PS TDI and seven-speed DSG gearbox plus a 27 PS E-motor and lithium-ion battery

·  When the full power of the hybrid is engaged the XL1 accelerates to 62 mph in 12.7 seconds; top speed is limited to 160 kmh (99 mph); the car can cover up to 50 km (31 mph) in all-electric mode and therefore with zero local emissions

·  As well as the powertrain, the XL1’s design and manufacturing techniques enable it to achieve these record-breaking figures

·  The XL1’s overall length (3,888 mm) and width (1,665 mm) are similar to those of a Polo, yet its height (1,153 mm) is close to that of a Porsche Boxster (1,282 mm)

·  Volkswagen developed and patented a new system for the manufacture of the Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) parts on the car called the Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process allowing the material to be viable for series production

·  The monocoque, all exterior body parts as well as functional elements such as the anti-roll bars are made of CFRP.  This material allows the XL1 to be both extremely rigid and therefore safe but also very light

·  The XL1 weighs just 795 kg.  Of this, 227 kg is accounted for by the drive unit including the battery, 153 kg the running gear, 80 kg equipment, 105 kg the electrical system and the remaining 230 kg the body.  Just 23.2 per cent of the XL1 is constructed from steel and iron

·  The XL1 will be manufactured (left-hand drive only) at Volkswagen’s Osnabrück factory in Germany (which also produces the Golf Cabriolet and Porsche Boxster).  Unlike these cars, the XL1 will be ‘handcrafted’ using small series production processes

·  To achieve the target fuel consumption figure the XL1 was aerodynamically optimised, adopting the classic ‘tear drop’ shape and utilising innovations such as removing traditional wing mirrors and replacing them with small cameras called e-Mirrors which transmit exterior images to interior displays

·  250 models are confimred for produciton with a small number expected to find homes in the UK

The Volkswagen XL1 – technical details


Construction method

CFRP monocoque and add-on parts

Length / width / height

3,888 mm / 1,665 mm / 1,153 mm


2,224 mm

Drive system


plug-in hybrid, rear-wheel drive

Internal combustion engine

TDI, two cylinder, 800 cc, 35 kW/ 48 PS, 120 Nm

Electric motor

20 kW/ 27 PS, 140 Nm

System power (during boosting)

51 kW

System torque (during boosting)

140 Nm


7-speed DSG

Battery type


Battery energy capacity

5.5 kWh

Emissions class

Euro 6

Weight data

Unladen weight

795 kg

Performance / fuel economy


160 km/h (electronically limited)

0 – 100 km/h

12.7 s

Fuel consump. (NEDC, combined)

0.9 l/100 km

CO2 emissions (NEDC, combined)

21 g/km

Range: E-drive

50 km

Range: TDI + E-drive

> 500 km (10 litre fuel tank)



Volkswagen Group UK is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Europe’s largest carmaker and one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers.  From its UK headquarters in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, it controls the sourcing, marketing and distribution of all vehicles and parts in the UK for Volkswagen Group vehicles, including Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Commercial Vehicles, Audi, SEAT and ŠKODA cars. 

Volkswagen UK is one of the country’s largest importers, accounting for almost one in ten of every car sold. The company sells a wide range of vehicles which range from compact city cars through the best-selling and renowned Golf, Polo and Beetle models, to luxury saloons and 4x4s. 

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