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.