April 19, 2002
Volkswagen shows prototype with fuel consumption of 1 litre per 100 km (283 mpg)
Wolfsburg, Germany – Dr. Ferdinand Piech, current VW Chairman of the Board, drove a new VW prototype vehicle to the company’s annual meeting in Hamburg, Germany averaging 0.89 litres per 100 km (315 mpg) during his journey from Wolfsburg.
The small, aerodynamic “1 litre car” was developed in a wind tunnel, and is 3.47 metres (11.4 feet) long, 1.25 metres (4.1 feet) wide and just over a metre (3.3 feet) in height. The car is made completely of carbon fibre composites, and to save weight, it was not painted. The carbon-fibre-reinforced outer skin is tensioned over a spaceframe that is made of magnesium, which is even lighter than aluminum.
The 1 litre car is powered by a 0.3 litre one-cylinder diesel engine, centrally positioned in front of the rear axle and combined with an automated direct shift 6 speed gearbox. The naturally aspirated, direct-injection diesel engine employs advanced high-pressure unit injection technology to generate 8.5 horsepower at 4,000 rpm. This gives the vehicle, which weights just 290 kg (639 lb.), a better than expected power to weight ratio.
Fuel consumption averages a mere 0.99 litres per 100 kilometres. With a 6.5-litre tank, this gives a range of some 650 kilometres without refuelling.
The interior offers enough space for two people, who can comfortably get in after folding back the turret-like gullwing door. An extremely lightweight construction has also been employed for the seats. The seat frames are made of magnesium, and fabric covers are used instead of a classic upholstery.
Despite the lightweight construction of all components, safety was a major concern in the development of the 1-litre car. The vehicle includes anti-lock brakes, ESP electronic stability program and a driver’s airbag. Deformation elements at the front end and the spaceframe construction provide impact and roll-over protection comparable to that of a GT racing car, says VW.