AutoCentrum.pl – Indipendent Automotive Portal Tests Presentations Reliable reviews Hi! Today I’m testing a car, that you’ll for sure not buy in a car showroom. You’ll not buy it. That’s it. Because the VW XL1 has beed produced in just 250 copies and only 200 of them are for sale. I’m sorry: they are not. They were, because they already have been sold. How come a car that costs almost a half million zlotych and has cranked windows raised so much clients’ interest? Or let’s put it another way: what for VW invests 13 years of work in one project, on which, as we can see, does not intend to earn money? I’ll try to find an answer for this question in this film.Firstly, let’s answer this question: why am I testing a car, which we cannot buy despite of the account balance? I’m doing it, because that’s the only copy of a super economic car, which, paradoxically, was not meant to be a car to spare money on. Because when you give a very ambitious task for the engineers, that the car should consume less than 1 l / 100 km, then the outlays for such a project raise disproportionately. Then each saved gram of fuel costs as much as an oil rig. That translates into the final price: 111.000 €.For this money we could buy 94.000 liters of fuel, what even in such a car as the Golf R would be enough to drive 1 million km. That means, that it’s not all about the fuel saving. It was about to check, if it’s possible to produce such an economical car, that for driving 1 km would need less energy than a 100 W bulb for 1 hour of lighting. Or that it could hold the speed of 100 km/h by the help of just 8 hp. They made it! But at the expense of nice patterns, interesting compromises and sometimes, unfortunately, painful resignations.The idea of this car is simple: let’s take a diesel engine, add an electric engine and we already have an economical hybrid. That’s what also the competition does, but VW went one step forward. They took a 1.6 TDI engine and cut the half of it. They have left 2 cylinders and a capacity of 0,8 l. This way they got an engine that gives 48 hp, added a 27 hp electric engine and at the end they got a really interesting number: 69 hp. Then the fight began, if we consider the 2 most important parameters, which should eventually influence the consumption and the performance.The real mass and the aerodynamics. This fight has cost the most: time, money and resignations. Let’s begin with the
aerodynamics. This car looks phenomenal, but it’s not a beautiful phenomenon. It looks like this car was produced not by designer, but IT specialists and physicists, who put in the computer appropriate formulas and came out this thing. The car is so low, that it was not possible to make a classically opened doors. These lifted up doors made, that here in the roof we have an appropriate opening, through which we can seat in this car with dignity. The car has a drop form: wider in the front, slimmer in the back and on narrow tires: 115 in the front and 145 in the back. The car is so narrow, that the passenger’s seat has been put back, so he will not disturb the driver with his arms. That’s also why they spared on the airbag for the passenger. It’s a car that resists as less as it can in the front and gets out of the air in the back, as best as it can.The side mirrors resisted too much, so they were substituted by cameras. The form of these cameras is so well thought-through, so that in a rainy day the drops would not cover the view. Even the door handles has been considered as a public enemy and composed into the bodywork. A flat undercarriage is also an aerodynamics pattern, so we don’t have any standing out antennas and the effect: the modulus resistance is just 0,189. I bet, that your cat has more. Now it’s time to fight for the real mass. The most important and most expensive element here is the carbon fiber monocoque, which is light, resistant and has many other advantages. Generally, the material that is really light and resistant used in this car, is called CFK, which means a fake material from fiber carbon. It has been used in 21 %. 22% has been used from some other light materials, like aluminium or ceramic, like the disc brakes: it doesn’t matter that they are expensive – they are light.The other 23% are some other alloys, steal and other metals. The rest are electronic elements, equipment etc. The front wheels are so narrow, that they spared on the power steering too. We’ll also find a crank to open the windows, because it’s lighter this way, instead of the electric opening. The side windows are plastic, the rear window is not there and the frontal has just 3,2 mm of thickness. Even the paint in this car is different. Is extra slim and weighs twice less than in other cars. This way we get 795 km of real mass in this car. The Golf 1.6 TDI weighs 1200 kg f.ex., so we have a 400 kg
difference.That’s why a 90 hp Golf accelerates to 100 km/h in a similar time to this car. This way, connecting the effective hybrid drive, low real mass and low resistance we get this fantastic result: 0,9 l / 100 km. With a tank of 10 l and a small battery (5,5 kWh) it gives us a range of 500 km. When we look at this car from the outside, we expect inside to be some touch screens, laser indicators and a joystick instead of the steering wheel. In the meanwhile, after we hit our head on the ceiling lining (at least in the cas of a 2-meter man) it turns out to be a normal interior. Of course, here an there some carbon motive, some new buttons but we actually see a well-known dashboard, winders and buttons. After pressing the Start button, the electric mode activates so we just hear some electric hum. Here we have an icon that tells us: now we are driving just by electrodes. We can switch it off, but even if we leave it switched on the combustion engine will help us to get some additional acceleration, if needed.Let’s go! If front of us we have a quite uneven road and here I can show you the first problem, resulting from the soundproof savings, the suspension and the whole car construction. Can you hear these sounds, when appropriate wheels drive through roughnesses. We can hear it all very well, unfortunately. We can feel each roughnesses by ourselves. The advantage is, that we can steer the car like a go-cart. Each direction change is made really clear through the steering wheel and the front wheels. The tires, despite being so narrow, handle very well the direction changes. On the batteries, we’ll drive about 50 km, that’s what the producer declares, but if we want to drive faster and push the gas harder (then we can also hear how the combustion engine is helping us), then we’ll get a worse result, if we’d like to drive only on electricity: depending on the driving style – 30-40 km.We heard that the engine does not sound like in other hybrid cars, like Tesla, where we hear a kind of hum of electric devices. Here it sounds rather like an electric razor. When we push the gas stronger and the combustion engine switches on, the soundproof gets really worse and the engine sounds interesting, just listen to it. I would connote it with a pumped boat, which in the back has a kind of two-stroker that rattles when we swim on some lakes. Maybe it is exaggerated but one thing is sure: the soundproof in
this car is too bad, but on the other hand, if I were the designer of this car and would have to answer this question: what if the car consumed more than 1 l / 100 km (so project failed) but be more quiet inside or consumed less than 1 l / 100 km but be louder inside of course, I would choose the second option.That’s what the designers did at the end. So, inside is loud but very, very economical. Volume at stop: 51,4 dB Volume 0-90 km/h: 74,4 dB Volume at 130 km/h: 74,2 dB The car makes a strange impression at the beginning, because of lack of the side mirrors. We have to get used to direct our sight a bit lower, on the doors, where we have a nice, colored image, which from my point of view (2 meters) is a little cut on the up-left corner, because of such door form. On the right side I see a lot of reflections, which also disturb me a bit. An interesting phenomenon is rolling down. Look, the road goes down a bit, I have 110 km/h on the speedometer, the foot away from the gas pedal, the engine is switched off, we can also see on the screen that nothing is happening: we are just rolling.We don’t recover energy, we don’t use energy. We drove about 0,5 km and we are driving 100 km/h, but just because the road began to go up a bit, but in a while we’ll be going down again. We lost just 20 km/h and we are still rolling. Now the road goes down again, we roll again without any consumption of energy, we are driving 85 km/h and the speed actually stays at the same level. It’s 80 km/h now, but we drove almost 1 km and this car is rolling like it was pushed by an invisible hand, so the aerodynamics and the little mass do their job. We go up again and we are losing speed now. We drove about 1,5 km and we still have a nice speed.If I push the gas a bit, we can hear the the 2-cylinders diesel engine has beed switched on. I drove 14 km since the start, I used about 10% of the battery so we can do the first summation. The average speed was 29 km/h, distance of 14 km, full range 402 km and fuel consumption: 1,3 l / 100 km, so a bit more than the producer declares, but I drove faster at times than the producer foresees, because I drove about 120 km/h. When the combustion engine, as we can hear, is switched on, the momentary consumption is about 5,4 l / 100 km, but if I put the foot away from the gas pedal we instantly see 0 l / 100 km. Is driving the VW XL1 annoying? Well, for me not, because I am an engineer
myself and I have fun in seeing, how this complicated mechanism works. But considering this car through the prism of just the fuel consumption, in my opinion, is a mistake.This car is a proof, that the most complicated task is possible to do. That’s what VW did. It showed to the rest of the car industry: we made it! I promised to answer you, why VW did not intend to produce this car for sale and produced only 200 copies. This car from the beginning was projected as too futuristic and was only a proof of the concern’s technical abilities. Actually a proof of their abilities’ spread.Because before, you remember, VW presented the Bugatti Veyron and all other car producers went crazy on beating its maximal speed. VW did not fight anymore. Fast cars? That’s been already. Now we’ll show you something else, from the completely other scale end. And they did! Subscribe! .