• Sep 13, 2009

Ono of the numerous cars that will be shown by Volkswagen this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show is the latest edition of the 1-liter concept. The name represents the amount of fuel it takes the vehicle to travel 100 km (62 miles) and nominally equates to 235 mpg. In this case, based on the translation, it appears that VW might be taking some liberties with the name since it seems to take 1.49 liters / 100 km, or a mere 157.8 mpg (US). For all practical purposes, the difference is largely inconsequential since so little fuel is used at these lofty levels.

The original 1-liter concept appeared in 2002 and was enormously expensive since it was largely made of one-off unobtanium. This time around, VW used more conventional components and materials to create the tandem two-seater. A 36-horsepower two-cylinder diesel propels it along with some indeterminate degree of hybridization through a 7-speed DSG gearbox. Weight is cut to about 1,100 pounds through extensive use of carbon fiber composites, and the tandem layout helps cut frontal area to a minimum, reducing drag. In the past, VW has said it would like to have a 1-liter car in production by 2010, but we don't know the current status of those plans yet. Thanks to Paul for the tip!

[Source: Bild am Sonntag]




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  • 29 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Tandem based car... interesting. One thing for sure, you can fit at least 4 of the thing in a normal parking bay.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It doesn't look significantly shorter (in length) than a normal car, probably about Miata length or so, but in a normal US-sized parking space, you could definitely fit two side by side in one space.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Were you going for "One" or "Uno"?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Interesting concept, but it's a shame that there's more chance of a comet impaling me as I type this sentence than there is of this design being even somewhat realistic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Cool, a step in the right direction. Hopefully at the very least this can convince people that diesel is the best option we have available to us at this time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        When you have both a gasoline and electric "motor" to worry about, it is assumed that there is a higher risk of maintenance problems. Hybrid cars, for the most part, are the combination of a mediocre gas car and a bad electric car. In many cases, they seem to be just a "feel good" mechanism for people who have the means to spend some extra money on a car, so they can buy an SUV that gets a whopping 20mpg, bested by the majority of sedans on the market.
        And with the way Toyota/Honda/Nissan reliability has been going for the past few years (absolutely zero issues from 0-100k miles, then after that, i.e. past almost all warranties, brace for disaster), I cant bring myself to trust it.
        On the other hand, diesels have been proving themselves as some of the most reliable and long-lasting engines across the board, regardless of domestic or foreign (typically european) manufacture.
        Not to mention, the "real world" fuel economy of a diesel car is almost always higher than the EPA estimates (particularly with an intelligent driver operating a manual transmission, not offered on hybrids), while in almost all cases hybrids tend to deliver lower than EPA economy figures.

        My personal hope is that research into fuels synthesized from algae, switchgrass, etc become viable sooner rather than later, in which case it will probably be a very good time to own a diesel car. But thats another discussion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        How many magazines and reviewers cover cars with over 100k miles on them? Sorry, but I dont buy into the concept of making cars trouble free for the warranty period, as Honda/Toyota/Nissan have been doing in recent years. Of course, the bad press tends to go to the cars that require the occasional warranty-period maintenance (European and American brands come to mind). From a common sense standpoint, again, more parts and systems = greater chance of failure. (To relate it to this article, yes, VW has made this mistake at times, and got burned very badly for doing so).

        "Recyclable" is a relative term. Our modern vehicles which are supposedly "recyclable" sit in scrapyards at the end of their serviceable lives dripping fluids and grease into the ground, at times not even a mile from the coast. Last I checked the infrastructure was not completely in place to deal with hybrid batteries (as it is to deal with typical wet cell "car batteries") which prompted Toyota to offer an incentive to return the batteries to them. Im not trying to say Toyota is dumping whole batteries in the ocean or anything, but I dont just assume 100% environmental responsibility when I hear the word "recycle."
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, because as a car-dependent society as a whole, we need to make changes NOW. Our options are currently diesels and hybrids. Hybrids are an environmental/maintenance disaster due to the batteries (and the methods used to dispose of them), among other shortcomings. No, diesel is not the final solution to all our problems (as even VW admits, fully electric vehicles are probably the most viable option in the future) but sitting around waiting for mainstream fully electric or hydrogen vehicles isnt doing any good.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Quack:

        "Hybrids are an environmental/maintenance disaster due to the batteries (and the methods used to dispose of them), "

        Complete nonsense, you had to just make that up right? There's been no maintenance disaster whatsoever with Hybrid cars so far, they're no worse than traditional cars.

        Environmental disaster? Considering the batteries are 90% recyclable, that's nonsense.


        Man, you're a disaster! Check facts first before you quack
        • 5 Years Ago
        But if your point in convincing them of that is to dissuade use of alternate technologies then you are never going to have a better option.
        Which is only a good idea if you own stock in a company in the diesel sector or own an oil well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ quack

        You can assume greater maintenance because of the two motor types but that doesn't mean you'll see your assumption realized in the real world.
        In the end, any modern engine (or engines) are very complex and longevity is going to come down to individual execution.
        In any event the evidence doesn't bare out your logic.
        The most widely popular hybrid thus far is easily the prius and I am not aware of any regular maintenance problems with it. And it has been around a while now.
        What the cars do in relation to EPA testing is also kind of meaningless.
        I personally love VW.
        I love the feeling of a european car in general.
        I used to own VWs all the time back in the day.
        But I would still put money on toyota long term reliability over a VW currently... without even thinking hard about it.
        Not that VW diesels haven't been generally bulletproof over the years... but you can't always say the same for their electric power windows, etc...

        Right now if I wanted to buy a commuting/family sedan type every-man car.... the hybrid prius is besting the new VW tdis for efficiency I think.
        That's certainly my anecdotal read anyway....
        And they can each be bought for about the same money.
        Now.. a lot of people might find the VW more fun to drive and that's great.
        I love the tdi family myself.

        But... if we are just talking more efficient - it's still the prius right now in the US I think.

        And I don't mean some individual hyper-miling challenge with nutjobs coasting through intersections and drafting on the highway.
        I am talking about what average real world people are seeing week to week.
      • 5 Years Ago
      weight is the key of great mpg values.
        • 5 Years Ago
        depends on whether you stop or not. on the highway, weight doesn't have much of an impact at all, its all aero. In the city is when you often brake and throw away all the kinetic energy stored in the mass of your vehicle. Unless you've got regen of course, then you only throw some of it away. In a perfect regen car (kinda impossible), weight wouldn't factor into mpg at all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Rob... better than a motorcycle at any rate.
      @Flyboy... ????????????????

      There are a few more pics at the source which make it clear that this thing is still a long days work away from practicality.
      The back is horrendously ugly (which I could live with if it's for efficiency but they seem to have gone out of their way) and also seems to have not even tried for a pretense at rear visibility for the driver.
      Finally, it looks like you have to climb into it like a jetfighter - which you might get some muscle head to do for a great sport ride.
      But we are talking commuters....
      I don't care if people chortle and point but come on... give me a nice wide seat for my sorry wide hind quarters and make it easy to get in and out of as well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Am I clear for takeoff?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Trust me; if you paid €30,000 for a 2-seat carbon vee-dub with a diesel motorcycle engine, the €0.90 more paid every 100km is very inconsequential. These are for the poor bastards who are trying to save the planet and feel good about themselves while China is burning more dead dinosaurs per hour than all of the bras burned during the entire feminist movement.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This argument about it having no impact due to china (or whatever) is akin to saying that due to the existence of crime and the fact that the vast majority of crime goes unpunished - you may as well be a criminal.
        In fact it is not just that you may as well do it but that it is a silly and pretentious exercise to not do it.
        Maybe people driving those cars don't give a flying frig what you or other poeple think of them and are doing because if enough other people sack up then it could go a ways toward -
        - slowing the mass exportation of wealth out of the country they live in for fuel.
        - having cleaner air.
        - rewarding manufacturers and encouraging further tech development in the area.
        - saving money on fuel costs personally.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We need regulatory changes so things like this can actually get built, 10 air bags, side impact, bumper rules, would likely kill this in North America.

      100+MPG commuter class cars would be amazing. That is like a 75% cut in commuter fuel usage.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd say the difference is pretty consequential. For a given distance driven, 1.49L/100km is 49% higher fuel costs than 1L/100km. Let's not get carried away with the whole inverse-of-mpg argument stuff. L/100km spells it out pretty clearly.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Pretty cool!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Are you sure 1 liter doesn't mean that it will have an engine with a 1 liter volume? Instead of 1 liter to travel 100 km?
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