Volkswagen 1-Liter 235 MPG Extreme Fuel Efficiency Car
Volkswagen’s CEO, Martin Winterkorn recently confirmed the company is working on a car that will get 235 mpg (1 liter per 100 kilometers) fuel economy. In 2002, VW showed its 1-Liter concept car that achieved 264 mpg (0.89L/100km). The project was cancelled in 2005 but VW has now revived it. How real is this? VW now says a limited production car could be offered by 2010.
The VW 1-Liter, developed in a wind tunnel, has a very narrow and very flat body configuration that necessitated tandem seating for the two occupants. Measuring in at 4.1 feet wide, 11.4 feet long, and just over 3 feet tall, the car features an amazing drag coefficient of just 0.159…even more wind-cheating than the slippery GM EV1 electric car’s 0.19 Cd. With its 235 mpg fuel economy, it can travel 400 miles on its 1.7 gallon fuel tank…all the while achieving a 75 mph top speed.
Minimum weight is crucial to extreme fuel efficiency. The VW 1-liter is made entirely of carbon fiber composites with the outer carbon fiber-reinforced skin tensioned over a spaceframe made of magnesium, which is lighter than aluminum. The car’s running gear makes extensive use of lightweight alloys. Low rolling resistance tires are mounted on 16-inch wheels made of extremely lightweight composite materials. The magnesium seat frames feature fabric covers rather than conventional upholstery.
The fuel sipping VW would probably be powered by a tiny single-cylinder diesel engine of 300 cc to 500 cc displacement, made of aluminum, using the latest direct injection technology. The 1-Liter concept car used a single-cylinder 300 cc diesel engine with an aluminum monobloc crankcase and cylinder head, resulting in a total 8.5 horsepower output. The non-turbocharged direct injection engine uses advanced high-pressure unit injection technology. It’s mounted transversely in front of the rear axle and mated to an automated direct shift 6-speed transmission.
With the VW 1-Liter, VW engineers showed that safety doesn’t have to be compromised to obtain ultra light weight. The 639 pound car incorporates advanced safety features including a deformable front end, an impact tolerant spaceframe, and racing car-like roll-over protection. It also has anti-lock braking, electronic stability program (ESP), and a driver’s airbag. All it needs now, from our perspective, is a quick path to market.