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Formula XL1 can travel up to 22 miles on battery power alone

We don't usually think of the Qatar Motor Show as a place where major automotive product announcements/advances are made, but Volkswagen used the show to unveil the latest in its line of vehicles aimed at extracting the ultimate mileage out of a single gallon of gasoline.

The German company today announced its Formula XL1 concept car that makes use of a two-cylinder turbodiesel engine, hybrid electric motor (with a lithium-ion battery pack), and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Formula XL1 has enough juice from its lithium-ion pack to travel for 22 miles on battery power alone, and gets a total combined fuel efficiency rating of 260 mpg.

When the subject of gasoline electric hybrids is brought up on DailyTech, there quite often is chatter from our European readers stating that they have been getting similar -- if not better -- mileage from turbodiesel engines for years in similar vehicle types. So it's nice to see that VW is taking the best of both worlds with this new vehicle concept. 

And it's not just the turbodiesel-electric hybrid powertrain that gives the Formula XL1 its impressive fuel economy; the vehicle also makes use of lightweight carbon fiber reinforced polymers for the body panels to further reduce weight. The driver and passenger also sit in a tandem arrangement -- the passenger sits slightly aft of the driver and behind the driver's seat (think McLaren F1) -- which allows the Formula XL1's body to cut through the wind more efficiently, which also improves overall fuel efficieny. 

There is no word if or when such a vehicle will be put into production, but we're sure that there are more than a few hypermilers here in the United States that wouldn't mind getting their hands on one.



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Efficiency ratings...
By Marlonsm on 1/25/2011 5:27:21 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
total combined fuel efficiency rating of 260 mpg.


Cars that run on battery alone before using fuel can easily mess up that rating. It would be interesting if they started measuring that after the battery run out of juice.
For example, if they run 40 miles with that car to get the rating, only the last 5 will have the engine on, actually using fuel, and the rating given would be 8 times higher than it should.

IMO, cars like that should have 2 ratings, one in miles/Kwh, for when its only using the battery and one in MPG, measured after the engine starts.




RE: Efficiency ratings...
By Jeremy87 on 1/25/2011 5:36:04 PM , Rating: 2
Wonder where they will go once they have electric cars at 8 mpg.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By Jeremy87 on 1/25/2011 5:36:58 PM , Rating: 2
DailyTech made my infinite sign into an 8...


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By petpeeve on 1/26/2011 12:02:04 AM , Rating: 4
Since childhood, DailyTech only had 4 fingers on each hand. Hence, 8 is effectively infinity for it. Poor child.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By ekv on 1/26/2011 3:29:50 AM , Rating: 2
And you thought octal died with DEC...


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By Visual on 1/26/2011 3:59:56 AM , Rating: 2
There is no "8" digit in octal...


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By JediJeb on 1/26/2011 11:54:54 AM , Rating: 2
That would be nonal if it ends in 8.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By DrSpaceman on 1/27/2011 12:29:48 AM , Rating: 2
wow, don't know who's the biggest nerd... you guys or me cause I actually followed that...


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By Rasterman on 1/25/2011 5:37:31 PM , Rating: 3
Anyone who uses a MPG rating based on driving 40 miles is an idiot. Besides its a concept car, you will never see it, and if a version of it does make it to market, I'm sure the EPA rating will be a fraction of that 260mpg figure just as with the Volt and Leaf.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By michael67 on 1/26/2011 7:47:41 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Anyone who uses a MPG rating based on driving 40 miles is an idiot.

No this care is based on the challenge of the head engineer at VW, to develop a car that drives 100km on 1L fuel(235 mpg)

The original idea came from the One-Liter Car concept 10y ago
quote:
VW unveiled the slick two-seater concept six years ago at a stockholder’s meeting in Hamburg. To prove it was a real car, Chairman Ferdinand Piech personally drove it from Wolfsburg to Hamburg. At the time, he said the car could see production when the cost of its carbon monocoque dropped from 35,000 Euros (about $55,000) to 5,000 Euros (about $8,000) — something he figured would happen in 2012. With carbon fiber being used in everything from airliners to laptops these days, VW’s apparently decided the cost is competitive enough to build at least a few hundred One-Liters.

Old L1 article: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2008/07/laugh-at-high...

As its build following that concept, i presume this one also drives whit out plug-in support the rated 261 MPG.

Wired has a excellent article about this car.
New XL1 article: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/01/vw-xl1-concep...

I for one would for sure put this ore cars like it on my short list to replace my GS450h in 2 years time.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By mars2k on 1/25/2011 6:08:18 PM , Rating: 3
Pretty car check out the original honda insight. The good news here is that is a VDub. I might be able to sit in it without folding myself in half.
I would like someone to explain having a diesel/electric combo and why that is more efficient. Is the combustion engine de-couple from the wheels here is it only driving a generator and keeping battercharged. Thereby keeping the engine running at its most efficient load and rpm. Now if we could get some organic solar cells painted on the surface to charge the battery during that 8 hr period waiting for me to geet off work and drive home.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By Marlonsm on 1/25/2011 6:51:47 PM , Rating: 1
Usually hybrids have the combustion engine directly coupled to the wheels, having it to act just as a generator, IMO, wouldn't be much of an advancement, as there would be losses putting a generator, a battery and a motor in the way between the engine and the wheels. And that wouldn't be much better than the mechanical transmissions we have today.

What I really want to see are hybrids that use a turboshaft engine as generator, just like the ones in helicopters, but smaller. They are much more efficient than ordinary engines, but couldn't be used in cars so far because they can only operate at a small range of speeds, not suitable for the streets. But very good as a generator.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 1/26/2011 8:08:48 AM , Rating: 2
There is a car manufacturer that released a concept vehicle with twin turboshaft engines. Dang, I forgot who it was. Anyway, remember those things have helacisouly hot exhaust gases, which would melt the cars behind it.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By Marlonsm on 1/26/2011 9:20:36 AM , Rating: 2
Right after writing that post I watched Top Gear and there they showed that concept, a Jaguar.

I'm not saying we already have the technology to build such a car and sell it as any other. There are some problems to solve yet, the exhaust heat is one of them, but I've already seem concepts that use that heat to generate more power, cooling it in the process.
We aren't there yet, but I would say that in a few years it could be possible.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By JediJeb on 1/26/2011 12:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
Actually it is much more efficient to have the diesel engine run a generator and then have that power the wheels. This is mainly due to the fact that the engine will always run at the same rpm which is optimized for efficiency. Locomotives have used this principal for decades.

With this configuration you would not need to constantly speed up and slow down the engine if driving in town, it would simply run at a constant rpm like when you are cruising down the freeway. That is why you get better mileage running faster on the freeway than when running slower in town. Also if you are charging a battery when stopped at a traffic light then you are not wasting the energy idling but instead you are storing it up for later use.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By Marlonsm on 1/26/2011 4:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
You're right.
When I wrote that I was thinking about highway use mainly. But in the city, the engine as generator only has this advantage.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By YashBudini on 1/27/2011 11:00:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is mainly due to the fact that the engine will always run at the same rpm which is optimized for efficiency. Locomotives have used this principal for decades.

So my question would be what kind of efficiency could an ICE achieve if it's camshafts, FI, etc, were also optimized to behave in this manner? Has anyone attempted this? And wouldn't a CVT allow/improve such a setup?

Locomotives have other issues as well. They require traction motors for startup, no transmission could possibly handle the requirements of an engine pulling xxx freight cars from 0 to 70+ mph. Still, what you said is correct.

A handle of locomotives that remain in yards have transmissions. They are not the norm.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By YashBudini on 1/27/2011 11:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yeesh, handle. I meant handfull.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By YashBudini on 1/27/2011 11:08:33 PM , Rating: 2
D'Oh! Handful.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By walk2k on 1/25/2011 7:23:07 PM , Rating: 3
in before:

"its UGLY!!"

"its not safe if you get hit by a bulldozer!!"

"but I need 8000 horsepowers and seating for 30!!"

"global warming is DUMB!!111"

and something about "socalism" and/or Obama...


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By Helbore on 1/26/2011 6:35:58 AM , Rating: 2
You forgot "In Soviet Russia..."

Ok, you rarely see that one any more, but I kinda miss it!


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By shiftypy on 1/28/2011 8:51:24 AM , Rating: 2
In Soviet Russia engine is YOU!!!

ok kinda weak, but you get the point, pushing the car when it breaks down...


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By icemansims on 1/26/2011 11:12:58 AM , Rating: 2
You forgot Godwin's Law.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By Major HooHaa on 1/26/2011 8:38:36 AM , Rating: 2
Defiantly a significant step in the right direction. The TDI Diesel technology has looked impressive since VW introduced it with the Golf Mk3. And this technology looks like a strong indicator of things to come. Imagine a family car with 100+ MPG figures.

At the very least it's an impressive stop-gap while we transition to something greener and more sustainable.

Cars with big supercharged V8's might be fun, but we have been using vast amounts of fossil fuels for the last century. It's probably time for a change.


RE: Efficiency ratings...
By Tabinium on 1/26/2011 12:55:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
IMO, cars like that should have 2 ratings, one in miles/Kwh, for when its only using the battery and one in MPG, measured after the engine starts.


AGREED! These "combined", "effective" and "average" fuel economy numbers that manufacturers spit out mean nothing.

Give us miles/kWh and miles/gallon and let us do the math!


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