Volkswagen's global agenda of defining mobility solutions for the future has been an endeavour that has finally started taking on real world applications with the ultimate showcase we now know as the XL1
With rising fuel prices globally and the constant need to develop cleaner and greener cars, Volkswagen has made their agenda rather clear in the past as well where the company has elaborated upon the measures that they will take to become the world’s most environmentally sustainable automaker by 2018.
The company intends on having an average fuel consumption of less than 4 litres per hundred kilometers and a reduced CO2 emissions to 95g/km by 2020. Apart from that, the manufacturing process is also set to get cleaner and the company has already managed to cut energy and water consumption per vehicle by 10 per cent in the last two years. The group is committed to achieving these targets and has clearly stated that this is the time to invest in such innovations in order to increase the global proliferation of efficient technologies and alternative powertrains.
Going by the common tagline of ‘putting your money where your mouth is’, Volkswagen already offers its customers 245 models that have a CO2 emission of less than 120g/km and there are 36 models that already have a CO2 emission of less than 100g/km. No doubt, these are commendable achievements and do illustrate the way forward for the company, however Volkswagen isn’t just looking at incremental growth or development on this front and to showcase their agenda the company also introduced the XL1, a technological marvel which is available today.
In the same vein that the Volkswagen group commissioned the Bugatti Veyron to be a technological marvel as the epitome of power and speed, the XL1 is the epitome of frugality. The car utilizes a carbon fibre reinforced plastic monocoque structure that weighs only 89.5 kilograms, yet insures maximum safety for the two passengers on board. The side windows are made of polycarbonate which weighs 33 per cent less than conventional windows. The seats in the XL1 weigh only 11.6 kilograms making them more than 50 per cent less in weight than a conventional seat. In terms of a powertrain, the XL1 boasts of the TwinDrive technology that essentially combines a lithium-ion powered electric motor along with a two cylinder TDI engine that is mated to a 7 speed dual clutch gearbox.
In totality, the XL1 achieves a stellar consumption of just 0.9 litres per 100 kilometers, gives out only 21 grams of C02 per kilometer, weighs just 795 kilograms and is capable of hitting a 160 kilometer per hour top speed! It has taken over a decade of development to get this car on the road, and while the journey started with the L1 back in 2002, the product that we see today, despite weighing more than double of the original concept, offers a better mileage figure. No doubt, the XL1 is an expensive car the encompasses just about every bit of latest cutting edge technology available and Volkswagen is only offering 250 units initially, but this doesn’t mean that the XL1 is some sort of gimmick.
The various technologies employed on the XL1 will find their way into other Volkswagen cars, especially in the department of the drivetrain and hybrid technology. Volkswagen has stated that two thirds of their total Euro 50.2 billion investment planned by the Group up to 2015 will be utilized towards the development of increasing efficient technologies, powertrains and working on making vehicles environmentally sustainable for the future. It’s a matter of making changes in leaps and bounds, and for Volkswagen that time is now.