Zie Ozzer Germans

Photo credit: Volkswagen

Photo credit: Volkswagen

We know what BMW’s doing, how about the rest?

Volkswagen appears set with the voltwagens.  Not only will the German Giant produce electric versions of their compacts (yielding the e-UP and e-Golf), but they have already begun limited production of their XL1 plug-in hybrid.

The name comes from “1-liter car,” as in the European definition of fuel economy.  There, “mileage” is measured in how much fuel is burnt to go 100 kilometers.  VW had tried multiple iterations of 1L/100 km vehicle.  The 2013 XL1 now claims 110 km per liter of diesel- or, 260 miles per gallon.  And that’s on trips; in town, electricity will take you a claimed 30 miles (at least, per the european test cycle) with no liters at all.  That’s coming up on Chevy Volt range (33-40 all-electric miles per US cycle), on about a third of the battery (~5.5 kWh).  How?

That XL1 body is about as aero as it gets, at least in a format people might actually buy.  Consider it the new GM EV1.  For example, there are cameras, not rearview mirrors.  The body is carbon fiber, and weighs a fraction of what’s average on a North American dealer lot right now.  And VW is about as good as it gets for small diesel engines. Continue reading