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Volkswagen L1 Concept



Volkswagen
has unveiled the L1 Concept at the Frankfurt Show, a diesel-electric hybrid
capable of 189 mpg with emissions of only 39 g/km of CO2.

Constructed
from aluminium and carbon fibre, the L1 weighs just 380 kg and can seat two
occupants in tandem. They enter through a side-hinging, electrically operated
canopy to maximise the aerodynamic efficiency of the L1 Concept. The result is
an extremely low drag co-efficient of just 0.195.

The car has
an 800cc two-cylinder common rail, direct injection TDI engine. In ‘ECO’ mode
the engine develops 27 PS at 4,000 rpm, in ‘Sport’ mode this rises to 29 PS and
74 lbs ft of torque developed at 1,900 rpm.

The lightness
of the L1 Concept linked to efficient aerodynamics means that it’s capable of
accelerating to 62 mph from rest in 14.3 seconds before reaching a top speed of
99 mph.

Despite
having only a 10-litre fuel tank the L1 Concept is capable of travelling 416
miles between stops.

The 800 cc
engine is derived from the 1.6-litre TDI engine found in the new Golf
BlueMotion, also making its debut at the Frankfurt Show. The two have identical
cylinder spacing, bore and stroke as well as exhaust gas recirculation and
diesel particulate filters to ensure they meet and exceed the Euro-5 emissions
regulations.

Under normal
conditions the 14 PS electric motor is inactive, only engaging when additional
acceleration is required, delivering 40 per cent extra torque. The electric
motor can also take over from the engine to power the L1 Concept for short
distances.

The safety
cell, constructed from carbon fibre reinforced plastic, weighs just 124 kg. The
car is similar in length to a supermini, but much lower, and very narrow.

Volkswagen
says the driving environment shares more in common with an aircraft than a car.
The adjustable front seat is thin and constructed from carbon while the rear
passenger sits in a fixed seat built into the monocoque.

The L1
Concept draws inspiration from the original 1-litre car, unveiled in April 2002
when Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, then Chairman of the Board of Management, drove the
concept between Wolfsburg and Hamburg. At that time producing the carbon fibre
reinforced plastic body was simply not viable. With modern production processes,
large-scale manufacture of such structures is now possible.