You've got to love this brave new world we're in, where getting 120 miles per gallon can be considered a disappointment. That's the upshot of an Automobile magazine test drive of the Volkswagen XL1 plug-in hybrid diesel, which the German automaker has said can get as much as 261 miles per gallon, Hybrid Cars says.

Automobile, which admitted it weighed down the car a bit by employing a 264-pound test driver, got about 160 miles per gallon on a highway drive from Lucerne to Geneva. More mixed driving yielded results as low as 118 miles per gallon for the 1,750-pound car, which can go about 30 miles on electric power alone. Automobile did praise the super aerodynamic car for its steering, brakes and handling, though.

VW plans to make only about 250 XL1s and said late last month that the sleek little ride (read our test drive here) would likely be made available via lease only, and that it would probably be available only in Europe.


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  • 63 Comments
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      That is why VW put a plug on it.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      LOL. They picked a fat guy with a lead-foot to make them look bad. VW, make a pure a pure electric version and put it up for sale you bastards. Stop with the tease.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Absolutely! or just an all gas version.. not this crazy dual powertrain madness..
        Dave D
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        If they aren't testing a pure EV version somewhere secret, then they really are evil bastards...or really, REALLY stupid.
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave D
          @ Dave D Why ? For the last 17 years, I've been the major shareholder in a company which builds and sells, leases, rents (as an agent) specialist EV's. However, I've never understood this attitude that any auto-maker has an obligation to produce an EV ! Auto-manufacturers are businesses, it's between them and their shareholders, and customers, what sort of technology they want to produce. VW generated a profit of $21.6 billion dollar profit in 2012, making VW the world's most profitable car maker ! That seems to prove VW are certainly not stupid ! As for Evil bastard's, (for not making an EV of your approval) don't you think that's a little over-the-top, considering all the really evil bastards out there ?
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave D
          Marco . . . the "I've" was a typo. Should have been they. Don't pretend anything is forced on me? I'm not pretending, it is just is. I cannot chose not to breathe. I have to breathe. And every breath I take is filled with pollutants from cars. So it is not at all unreasonable for us to require car companies to start taking steps to reduce pollution. And they are not singled out for extra punishment . . . we also have a renewables portfolio standard requirement that makes the electric utilities reduce fossil fuel burning and generate more green electricity.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave D
          "I've never understood this attitude that any auto-maker has an obligation to produce an EV" I'll you why Marco. Well, here in California the car companies have made massive profits for decades selling cars that have made many of our cities into areas covered with an ugly brown smog. I've profited by selling a product that pollutes and literally kills people with its emissions. They need to move away from that eventually and they need to offer alternatives to people who don't want their cars to do that. Are we asking for subsidies? . . . sure, I guess. But they've received massive subsidies for decades by being able to spew crap into our air for decades and make a profit off it. So I think the ZEV program is a fair bargain . . . if they don't like it then they don't have to sell cars here. But if the want to keep selling gas cars . . . then they need to sell some ZEV cars or pay a penalty.
          omni007
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave D
          DF would say both
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave D
          @ Spec, How interesting, I had no idea you were a car salesman. Was this a job before or after college ? But, California isn't the whole world. If VW don't make the sort of car you like, don't buy one ! But don't pretend that anyone forced anything on you. I bought my first car at fifteen, I loved that car, ('55 Ford custom-line convertible). Do emissions from cars really kill more lives than they save ? I haven't done the research but I'll bet you that the number of deaths, are less than the lives saved. ( Remember each year the deadly emissions from just one container ship create more toxic pollution than all the cars in California!) Southern California evolved around oil and cars, they brought wealth, people and developemnt to the state. They also created problems. But none of that means that VW must build EV's ! Just go and by a Volt or a Leaf, Ford Focus EV. You are free to not to buy a VW !
      JoeP
      • 1 Year Ago
      What I think is not so obvious until thinking about it is that a super-aerodynamic car will be able to drive at faster speeds without a large efficiency penalty. For me this is awesome. Do you remember guy who modified his civic to get 90 mpg or so?
      Mr Leonardo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Find out more about these cars at video showrooms: http://showroomsdirect.com/video-showrooms/#.Umq3IflwrTo
      archos
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whats the point of selling only 250? Forget the carbon fiber, make it an EV, and price it like a leaf. They could have a huge seller but it looks like they're doing to make some kind of obnoxious statement.
        omni007
        • 1 Year Ago
        @archos
        A statement they can retract at any time. They're not selling them, they're only leasing them...shades of the EV1.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @archos
        It is completely silly. A tech demo and nothing more. A tease many would say.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why is this a surprise? The 261 MPG was by driving on a closed test track at 40 MPH for only a short distance. No one who actually read what VW did would realistically think they would get anything like that number. Anything over 100 MPG is excellent though.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        But if they can get 120MPG with gasoline, it really makes you want to know what they could get with pure electricity? With that car, you could probably have a 100+ mile range with a 20KWH battery. Why doesn't someone build that EV?!?!? It would provide the range people want and yet still be relatively inexpensive due to the small battery. And as an added bonus, you could get away with a 120V charger for modest daily commuting!
          Dave
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "But if they can get 120MPG with gasoline, it really makes you want to know what they could get with pure electricity?" They're not getting anywhere with gasoline. Its a diesel.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          You already can get away with 110V charging for modest daily commuting. I know a guy who did it in a LEAF for a year and have a friend who has done it in a Tesla for almost 6 months.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          @Warren . . . exactly. Someone needs to build some. Not something so far-out as the the Aptera. And it needs 4 wheels to get the tax-incentives. 4 or 5 seats would be nice but if it is cheap enough, I think a 2-seater could sell. Let the person keep their indulgence car for the weekends and drive the little 2-seater electric car back & forth to work.
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          I agree. It's the same concept with Edison2's VLC and Aptera. A 12 kWh pack can get you 100 miles. Edison2 update. They actually need more batteries than they expected because at 1000 lbs. the car gets blown around too much. They found that having 1400 lbs. seems to work best for control.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "they have bigger problems than that. It will never be." Giza (Dan), can you give us a rundown on the problems and why it will never be ?
          Giza Plateau
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Grendal, they have bigger problems than that. It will never be.
          Warren
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          The ICE Spark gets 34 mpg EPA combined. They say drivers report 42.9 combined. The EV version gets 82 miles EPA combined on a 21 kWh pack. So this thing should do 160 miles on 20 kWh easily. The Edison2 gets about 80 miles at highway speeds on a 10 kWh pack. Cars like this are the future of personal transportation, not 2 ton limousines.
        Giza Plateau
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        Remember it's a plugin. They went for long distance as a way to ignore the plugin part. And it's in mountainous terrain. Car journalists... you can't expect them to know about cars.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      That is pretty good for an ICE car. Since purchasing my leaf I have averaged 4.9 miles per kWh, since there are 33kWh in a gallon of gas that is equivalent to 161mpge.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Damn! How are you hyper-miling the Leaf? And why? ;-)
          paulwesterberg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Just press the off button to turn off climate control and then press the up button on the fan. This will turn on air circulation without hear or air conditioning. I haven't really been micromanaging climate control usage - the weather here has been really nice lately.
          omni007
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          I test-drove an i-Miev not too long ago. Gave it a nice run, maybe 2 miles. When we pulled back in to the lot, it had more indicated range than when we started.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        I have no idea how you do this. I can't break 4. And I'm still doing almost 15% better than EPA. I don't usually turn the climate off, but that's because there's no vent mode and I can't stand there being no air circulation. The climate is mild here, so often even if the climate is on the listed power consumption in the energy monitor is the tiniest sliver possible (100 or 200W).
          krona2k
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          If you turn the temp right down to 16 it should just use the fan, monitor the energy consumption to confirm. I've heard some people say their Leaf doesn't do this but mine does.
          ElectricAvenue
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          Hi Rotation. All I can say is that I live in a mild climate where a few months of the year I can leave the climate control completely off. And I almost never go on a highway - most of the time I'm going 60 km/h (40 mph) at most. Those two things can account for a big difference.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          krona2k: Mine will turn the A/C on in that case. I just looked at the manual though (what a novel idea!) it is possible with some fiddling to get into no heat & no A/C (vent) mode if you turn off auto mode first. I'll give that a shot tomorrow.
        paulwesterberg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Imagine if my electric car was as slippery as the XL1... No plug no sale VW!
      ElectricAvenue
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hyper-miling?!? I regularly get better than 10 km/kWh in the summer. Currently I'm averaging 12.6 km/kWh. That's 7.9 miles/kWh. I never use "Eco" mode. I accelerate quickly. I'm just careful not to wastefully accumulate speed I can't use. The trick is to avoid using the brakes as much as possible. It also helps that I'm rarely going faster than city street speed. In the winter I'm down around 6 to 7 km/kWh (3.8 to 4.4 miles/kWh). This is why I laugh when people talk about "the" range of an EV. It's naive to think that a car has a single number as a range. Bringing this back around to the original topic: using the figure of 33 kWh/USgallon, multiplying by 7.9 miles/kWh, I get 261 mpg. Which, ironically, is what was claimed for the VW XL1. :-) Electric, relatively low speed -> very efficient.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      What a stunning automobile. Lovely!
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      I was thinking this car would be horrifyingly small, but the dimensions are very close to my Miata: XL1: length -156.3 in width - 66.2 in height -46.6 in) '97 Miata: length -155.4 in Width - 65.9 in Height - 48.2 in
      • 1 Year Ago
      How about 117 MPG and still reach GTI performance levels in one car? https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.260828010597758.84063.163711023642791&type=3
      Warren
      • 1 Year Ago
      Spec, Four wheels makes more sense from an engineering standpoint, but won't get them the tax credit. That takes a 16 kWh pack minimum. The tax credit was designed to discourage efficient, affordable EV's from coming to market. Four seats in a hypercar is for marketing purposes only. What makes these cars affordable, and efficient is that they take very little power to go fast. If you double the payload weight, the advantage is lost. Climbing, and accelerating, they become dogs.
        Dave
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Warren
        "Four wheels makes more sense from an engineering standpoint, but won't get them the tax credit." It is enough to qualify for a tax credit, just not the maximum $7,500 tax credit. Plug-ins such as the Prius Plug In ($2,500) and the C-Max Energi ($3,751) qualify for partial tax credits and so would this. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxphevb.shtml
          Warren
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave
          My point was, if a company were to produce a 1200 pound, 10-12 kWh, two passenger vehicle from aluminum, and plastic for $20K, and the government would give you a $7500 credit to buy it, it would outsell everything else made. This would be bad for lots of big companies who pay for the campaigns of every politician.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave
          Yeah, the battery size to receive the maximum credit is 16KWH. Shocking that that just happens to be the exact size used within the GM Volt! (sarcasm). But it also turns out to be a decent size for a hyper-efficient commuter EV. If you put a 16KWH battery into an aerodynamic and light-weight EV, you should be able to get close to 100 mile range. Things with 10 to 12KWH probably don't come close to meeting all the crash test and standard auto regulations. The Mitsubishi-i was 16KWH but it wasn't all that aerodynamic nor light. 18 or 20KWH might be needed.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Warren
        You still get a tax credit as long as it is over 4KWH of batteries. 16KWH is just what you need to get the maximum $7500 amount. And it really wouldn't make much sense to put any less in a pure EV considering the tax-credit pretty much pays for the battery at this point.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Yeah, it will be interesting to see if they can pull it off. Lots of people have various dreams about cars . . . but building that dream AND having it conform to every one of all the rules & regulations is another matter completely.
          Warren
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Hopefully, we will get to see if a nanny-state compliant vehicle can be built at 1200 pounds, when the Edison2 VLC prototype is done. http://www.edison2.com/
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