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The Green Apple Awards 2011 GreenFleet Award



New VW plug-in hybrid maximised for efficiency

Volkswagen has been teasing the media this week with some early details of its super-efficient two-seat XL1 plug-in hybrid (pictured).

The Volkswagen XL1 benefits from being optimised through every aspect of its design and technology. It includes a carbon-fibre reinforced polymer monocoque; a powertrain with a 0.8litre, two-cylinder diesel and a 20kW electric motor; lightweighting of the engine and chassis; and strong emphasis on aerodynamics.

Volkswagen XL1 White

All of these innovations have helped the vehicle to fuel economy of 261mpg with CO2 emissions at 21g/km. It has an all-electric range of 31miles and can achieve a total of 310miles. Its top speed is limited at 99mph; and in all-electric mode it needs just 0.1kWh to cover 0.6miles.

Its use of materials is particularly notable. The monocoque features extremely strong carbon fibre reinforced polymer construction and its parts are said to be just as strong as aluminium or steel.

Overall, the Volkswagen XL1 weighs just 1,753lbs. This is made up of: 501lbs for its drive unit with a battery; 337lbs for its running gear; 176lbs for its interior; 232lbs for its electrical system; and 507lbs for its body, including the windscreen. Of this, 21.3 per cent is carbon fibre reinforced plastic.

Meanwhile, there is a strong emphasis on safety too. This has been achieved through intelligent design of load paths and includes front and rear aluminium crush structures to absorb energy during front and rear collisions.

So what has been the initial reaction to the vehicle?

According to reports, the XL1 does not have the feel of a sprinter, but doesn't feel as though it struggles for power. When it coasts at high speeds it is reported to feel notably different to other vehicles thanks to its low coefficient drag which gives the impression that the vehicle just slips through the air.

In addition, its brake energy regeneration is highly aggressive. It is able to garner as much energy as possible, every time.

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Paul Lucas

Filed under: Latest News, Green Cars, Hybrid cars, Volkswagen

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