News / Motoring
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Volkswagen L1 Concept Car
Image: © 2009

Volkswagen's L1 Diesel Hybrid Concept Car - 1.38 L/100 km

FRANKFURT, GERMANY - At the 63rd 2009 Frankfurt International Motor Show press days for automotive journalists (Sept 15-16, 2009), theirEarth photographed Volkswagen's concept car for the future - the Volkswagen L1, which VW says is currently the most fuel-efficient hybrid car in the world. The Volkswagen L1 is a diesel powered hybrid concept car designed for everyday use and it seats two people in a tandem seating arrangement. The VW L1 gets a remarkable combined average fuel efficiency of 1.38 L/100 km (170.45 U.S. MPG / 204.7 Imp MPG) with a top speed of 160 km/h (100 mph) and emissions of just 36 g/km of CO2.

The Volkswagen L1 has a very aerodynamic profile with a Cd (drag coefficient) of just 0.195. It is powered by an 800 cc TDI Volkswagen diesel engine with electric hybrid drive, and has a start-stop system that turns off the engine at idle and re-starts it when the drive pedal is pressed. The L1 has two power output modes - "ECO" and "Sport". In the ECO mode, the L1's engine delivers 20 kW (27 hp) of output power at 4000 rpm. If you switch to Sport mode then the output power increases 45% to 29 kW (39 hp) at 4000 rpm with maximum torque of 100 Nm achieved at 1900 rpm.

Volkswagen's L1 has an electrically operated gull-wing canopy door that lifts open to the side to allow passengers to enter or leave the vehicle. The total weight of the L1 is 380 kilograms (836 lbs) without passengers. The hybrid diesel drive module in the L1 is directly behind the passengers at the rear of the vehicle in a very compact arrangement. It consists of the 800 cc TDI Volkswagen diesel engine and a 10 kW (14 hp) electric E-motor and clutch. There is an integrated 7-speed transmission and these are managed by the VW DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) controller. The E-motor itself is powered by a lithium-ion battery unit, which also provides regenerative battery charging during deceleration.

The Volkswagen L1's light body is achieved by using a monocoque design made from CFRP (carbon-fibre reinforced plastic). The body is produced using production techniques similar to those found in Formula 1 car construction. VW has installed ABS brakes and ESP traction and acceleration from zero to 100 km/h (62.5 mph) is achieved in 14.3 seconds. The 10-litre fuel tank allows the L1 to obtain a theoretical driving range of 670 kilometres (418.8 miles).

Inside the L1, Volkswagen has designed very well laid out cabin controls - an engine Start-Stop button on the right of the console activates the engine. There is also touch activated automatic air conditioning, and the entry canopy is opened by touch control as well. Two organic light emitting diode displays (left and right) on the dash console replace the conventional side mirrors and the view for these is provided by two external micro cameras. For safety there is a driver's air bag, front aluminium crash bars, and head/side curtain air bags (left and right). The rear tailgate on the Volkswagen L1 can store up to 50 litres of cargo items. 

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