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Volkswagen Concept Car Averages 262 MPG

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the but-can-it-fly dept.

Transportation 353

coolnumbr12 writes "The Volkswagen XL1 averages an amazing 262 mpg, and although it may never hit streets in the United States, the technology behind the car could impact future Volkswagen vehicles. The keys to the incredible mileage in the Volkswagen XL1 were reducing the weight of the vehicle and eliminating wind resistance. The XL1 only weighs 1,753 pounds — that's more than a thousand pounds lighter than the Toyota Prius, which weighs in at 2,921 pounds. The wheels on the Volkswagen XL1 are as thin as road bike's and wrapped in custom Michelin rubber. The XL1 chassis is a single piece of molded carbon-fiber, and has a drag coefficient of only 0.189 – similar to a bumblebee."

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353 comments

One problem (0)

chris200x9 (2591231) | about 9 months ago | (#44231977)

Looks good except for the fact it has rear wheel drive.

Re:One problem (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 9 months ago | (#44232023)

Rear wheel drive is not a problem. Read wheel drive with all the weight over the front wheels is a problem, especially in low traction situations. Ideal is really all wheel drive with weight distributed close to evenly.

Re:One problem (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 9 months ago | (#44232159)

But for 260+ MPG I don't give a crap. I've driven rear drive cars with all the weight up front. You just have to know how to handle the car. Know that in slippery conditions you MUST reduce speed and try not to stop if you don't have to do so.

Re:One problem (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 9 months ago | (#44232223)

I think if VW were to go production on this concept vehicle; Toyota, and Hyundai would start feeling like they're deficating peach seeds.

Re:One problem (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 9 months ago | (#44232337)

Yup - agreed on that. Or Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and Nissan could start designing and building their own hyper-milers. Nissan is already ahead of the game with the Leaf. But the latter suffers from a miles between charge deficit. The battery technology needs to get better over time.

Re:One problem (1)

Niedi (1335165) | about 9 months ago | (#44232509)

They are actually going to produce and sell a small number of them (250 I believe), though I fear the price might be a bit prohibitive for the mass market...

Re:One problem (3, Informative)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44232467)

The concept car is real wheel drive with rear engine, similar to the origianl VW although it isn't aircooled.

Re:One problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232207)

Looks good except for the fact it has rear wheel drive.

Do tell us, where did you get your mechanical engineering degree ?

And do you have an SCCA competition license or an FIA competition
license ?

My bet is that most likely you're just another dumb fuck spewing bullshit
when you don't really know a goddamned thing.

I guarantee you this : your tiny little brain will never ever come within
a million miles of the awesome capabilities of the German engineers
who designed the VW in question.

I only wish I had a beer to toss in your face, you know-nothing twat.

Re:One problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232417)

The twat is you. Total asshole to boot.

Re:One problem (2)

Cramer (69040) | about 9 months ago | (#44232665)

The problem with RWD is that 99% of drivers have never driven one and have no clue how to properly handle one. But then, 99% of drivers simply don't know how to drive at all, so it doesn't really matter.

The thin little tires are what bothers me most. There's a damn good reason we don't use "bicycle wheels" on cars... traction and cornering stability. (and the reviewer breifly mentioned how quickly the tires give up.)

Re:One problem (5, Insightful)

Cosgrach (1737088) | about 9 months ago | (#44232311)

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with rear wheel drive. (unless you don't know how to drive to begin with)

Re:One problem (1)

TheReaperD (937405) | about 9 months ago | (#44232873)

(unless you don't know how to drive to begin with)

That describes 90% of all U.S. (and I suspect the world's) drivers.

And what's that in metric? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44231983)

I really can't be arsed to convert numbers that obviously were metric to begin with, back from bass-ackwards to metric, in my head or otherwise. As nerds you ought to have figured out which system* is better and have made a complete transition long ago.

* One is an actual, well-integrated system, and that's but one reason it is superior to the other, which isn't.

Re:And what's that in metric? (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 9 months ago | (#44232043)

Which of the two widely used metric standards do you want? ;-)

If you're from one of the countries that uses the km/L measure (Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Korea, etc.), then this Volkswagen prototype gets about 110 km/L.

If you're from one of the countries that uses the L/100km measure (Germany, Italy, Australia, etc.), then this prototype uses about 0.90 L/100km.

Re:And what's that in metric? (2)

GreatDrok (684119) | about 9 months ago | (#44232471)

"If you're from one of the countries that uses the L/100km measure (Germany, Italy, Australia, etc.), then this prototype uses about 0.90 L/100km."

We use that conversion here (New Zealand) and it makes a whole lot more sense since I can see precisely how much less fuel this will use compared with my current car which gets around 9L/100Km. Basically, this goes 10x further per gallon than a typical family wagon. Impressive. More so because it is dragging a car around and my 650cc motorcycle only gets 4L/100Km which I thought was pretty good. I did have a 100cc scooter at one point which managed about 2.5L/100Km.

Trying to relate all of this with mpg or even lpk is much harder.

Re:And what's that in metric? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232465)

Woah, different strokes for different folks. If everybody did as you do, the world would be 100% full of dickheads.

We need a new class of 'ultralight' cars (5, Interesting)

BroadbandBradley (237267) | about 9 months ago | (#44231999)

We have very safe cars but they're also very heavy as a result. Granted gains can be made with expensive and exotic materials, but how about CHEAP and LIGHT cars that could be had for just a few grand, and get 80-100MPG? before you think no-one would want to drive something without airbags and side impact beams and crush zones, what about motorbikes? I really think it would be a big hit with consumers who don't wish to be exposed to the elements or have to balance a motorcycle, but would opt for BASIC transportation with a 500cc motor, 3 or 4 wheels, and enclosed cab. Current safety standards for 4 wheeled vehicles make basic and light car not an option.

Re:We need a new class of 'ultralight' cars (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 9 months ago | (#44232081)

There's a category of neighborhood electric vehicles [wikipedia.org] that are basically glorified golf carts. They can go about 30 mph, in some states can legally go on roads up to posted speed limits of 45 mph, and don't weigh much.

Re:We need a new class of 'ultralight' cars (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#44232273)

There's a category of neighborhood electric vehicles [wikipedia.org] that are basically glorified golf carts. They can go about 30 mph, in some states can legally go on roads up to posted speed limits of 45 mph, and don't weigh much.

Yeah, so banned from the same roads that motorcycles can drive on. I was looking at one of those Italian enclosed scooters for commuting to work (10 miles of country road), but I'd rather have 4-wheel stability.

I think it's like alcohol and tobacco - if they weren't grandfathered, the Nanny State would never approve them today. It's the government's job to protect people from themselves, dontcha know?

Re:We need a new class of 'ultralight' cars (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 9 months ago | (#44232201)

That is the concept behind Tata Nano. It is very cheap and you could barely call it a car. But its CEO (at that time, not sure who is running the show now) Ratan Tata said "It is not an unsafe car. It is a safe motor cycle with four wheels and a roof" (I am paraphrasing). In India it is common to see an entire family, dad+mom+two+kids all piled up in one motor cycle or a scooter dodging potholes and weaving in out of traffic. Yes, such cars exist. But it is very unlikely to pass any safety test in USA/Europe/Japan/Korea.

Persu (Re:We need a new class of 'ultralight' cars (1)

code_monkey_steve (651206) | about 9 months ago | (#44232309)

I really think it would be a big hit with consumers who don't wish to be exposed to the elements or have to balance a motorcycle, but would opt for BASIC transportation with a 500cc motor, 3 or 4 wheels, and enclosed cab.

You mean something like the Persu [flytheroad.com] or the Carver One [carver-technology.com]?

Why are these not on the market? Shut up and take my money!

Re:Persu (Re:We need a new class of 'ultralight' c (2)

BroadbandBradley (237267) | about 9 months ago | (#44232545)

not yet available and not cheap:

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I get a Persu V3?
Production vehicles are targeted for a 2014 model release.

How much will the Persu V3 cost?
MSRP is targeted at $25,000.

Re:We need a new class of 'ultralight' cars (4, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 9 months ago | (#44232313)

If the goal here is to 'save money' or 'save resources' by having a high MPG/k/L, I don't really get the point of these 'ultra safe' cars.

I'm sorry, but I've seen dozens of what would've been considered 'minor fender benders' even 10 years ago result in the vehicles being irreparably totaled. I've personally been hit twice where the other late-model vehicle was put on a flatbed and (likely) scrapped: in both instances, I barely even noticed the impact in my 1980s-vintage vehicle, I had -maybe- $250 in total body damage each time, and nobody was hurt. These modern cars, to the exception of full size trucks, seem to lose pieces if they hit so much as a slightly sticky traffic cone. Considering the cost and resources that go into making them, and how easily they're totalled, I can't see this as a win for anyone but the automotive makers and insurers (through larger premiums).

Re:We need a new class of 'ultralight' cars (4, Insightful)

ldobehardcore (1738858) | about 9 months ago | (#44232475)

As far as I know, modern cars are designed to crumple, and smash externally in order to dissipate shock in an accident as much as possible.

For instance, if you have a very rigid-bodied vehicle and a crumply-bodied vehicle, you'll most likely experience more acceleration in an accident with the stiff bodied vehicle, as the crumply vehicle takes more time to come to a complete stop. Going from 60mph to 0mph in 100 milliseconds exerts ~27.34G on the occupant. If you can double the period of acceleration from 100 milliseconds to 200 milliseconds, you can half the G load to ~13.67G, which is much more survivable.

I don't know how much the crumple zones and pliability of the frame contribute exactly, but in life or death situations every little bit counts, as far as the highly risk averse public is concerned.

Re: We need a new class of 'ultralight' cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232513)

Mod parent up, please.

Re:We need a new class of 'ultralight' cars (2)

Riceballsan (816702) | about 9 months ago | (#44232557)

Well ya see, you need a 3,000 lb car to protect you from getting killed when you get hit by a 2,000 lb car... but now the roads are dangerous from the 3,000 LB cars, we really need to make a 4,000 LB car to protect us.

Re:We need a new class of 'ultralight' cars (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44232611)

If the goal here is to 'save money' or 'save resources' by having a high MPG/k/L, I don't really get the point of these 'ultra safe' cars.

I'm sorry, but I've seen dozens of what would've been considered 'minor fender benders' even 10 years ago result in the vehicles being irreparably totaled. I've personally been hit twice where the other late-model vehicle was put on a flatbed and (likely) scrapped: in both instances, I barely even noticed the impact in my 1980s-vintage vehicle, I had -maybe- $250 in total body damage each time, and nobody was hurt. These modern cars, to the exception of full size trucks, seem to lose pieces if they hit so much as a slightly sticky traffic cone. Considering the cost and resources that go into making them, and how easily they're totalled, I can't see this as a win for anyone but the automotive makers and insurers (through larger premiums).

New cars are designed that way on purpose. They have built in crumple zones to absorb the energy of an impact. The problem is that the impact zone can't differentiate between a 25 mph hit and a 60mph hit and crumples either way, totalling the car. That's the official answer. Of course, there are those that believe that since a large percentage of cars will be in sub 25mph fender benders and get totalled, it guarantees new vehicle sales.

Personally, though, if I'm going to be in an accident, I'd rather the vehicle absorb the impact and crumple instead of my body. Then again, I try and avoid accidents to begin with.

Insurance companies (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 9 months ago | (#44232429)

don't want cheap cars that result in injured drivers. They make their money when you wreak your car, not your body. In America insurance is mandatory, and the insurance companies pay out for medical claims (no socialized medicine here). A wreaked car is a one time expense where they give you 1/2 or less the value of the car and jack your rates way up (I've had friends turn down their own insurance claims because the rate increase was higher than the cost of a new car). Medical expenses though can be ongoing. I knew a gal that got rear ended by an SUV doing 40 mph (she was at a dead stop at a train crossing). She's had back surgery on and off for decades.

Want cheap, light vehicles America? Ban SUVs, get socialized medicine, or forget it.

Metric Units. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232001)

Why are the USA still not using them?

Re:Metric Units. (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44232089)

Why are the USA still not using them?

Despite what some people will assert, it's due to weak government.

For years we saw these stupid signs along highways, listing Metric and English speed limits and then they were quietly replaced with English ones only. Rather than just push people to accept and get the pain over with (retiring that stupid old system of weights and measures) the government caved to the moronic side of America.

Re:Metric Units. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232267)

No it's because we had a working system and didn't need a new one. Long may it live!

Re:Metric Units. (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44232381)

No it's because we had a working system and didn't need a new one. Long may it live!

Yeah... Nothing I enjoyed more than doing conversions of miles, feet, inches, tenths of inches, pounds, ounces (avoirdupois), gallons, fluid ounces and all that muck during Math, Chemistry and Physics classes, all the while there were these lovely decimal systems just itching to make everything much easier.

Re:Metric Units. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232493)

Despite what some people will assert, it's due to weak government.

It seems it's a good government, it bowed to the will of the people - or morons, how you call them. Maybe the proper way to go about such an intrusive change is to educate people and explain the advantages so that they support it themselves ?

But don't worry, since America is losing it's world dominance, it won't afford the luxury of having it's own incompatible system for much longer. 50 years tops until US is completely metrified whether they like it or not.

Re:Metric Units. (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | about 9 months ago | (#44232661)

I think the problem lies in the intentional moronification of the people. They will take the time, fight protests, and ignore the masses when it comes to, ensuring tax cuts of the corporations, billionares etc... they will compensate for it by cutting as much funding etc... to our school systems. We allow banks to pay a barely visible fraction of interests on loans vs student loan debts, and with the rediculously massive price of higher education... we need scholarships... of which a good portion of go to people who have little interest in education, but rather are hoping that they land the tiny 1% chance of going professional in their sporting career.

Re:Metric Units. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232869)

This.

You forgot the <smug> tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232913)

Here, I'll help you:

<smug>This.</smug>

Re:Metric Units. (0)

Pharoah_69 (2866937) | about 9 months ago | (#44232193)

Sadly enough, someone is sabotaging this country and there is little anyone can do about it; Wait until next year.

Re:Metric Units. (0)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44232231)

Sadly enough, someone is sabotaging this country and there is little anyone can do about it; Wait until next year.

When the sabotage will continue...

I miss having real leadership in the Capitol. The current and past presidents have demonstrated remarkably little ability to get things done which need to be and considerable ability to accomplish things which in the long run don't amount to much.

Re:Metric Units. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232641)

The current and past presidents have demonstrated remarkably little ability to get things done which need to be and considerable ability to accomplish things which in the long run don't amount to much.

Because, you know, they're mostly figureheads. It's congress and senate that wield the power. Er, wait, it's the lobby groups that play congress and senate critters like sockpuppets. So, yeah.

Now, the previous guy was so painfully obviously himself a sockpuppet, so nobody really cares he didn't, everybody could see he couldn't, even had he wanted to, which he didn't either. This guy got elected on a personality cult ticket, and so he's fair game for failing to've achieved the unachievable... because he promised he'd deliver the undeliverable. Effectively, the electorate let itself be duped.

But going there does mean conveniently forgoing the root cause analysis that clearly shows that whatever you got promised, you could've known beforehand you weren't going to get it. People believed it because they needed to believe. There wasn't any chance to get real change. gitmo, say, is still unfixably in business. In the end it's a failing of that elusive creature of founding father imagination, the better educated voter, to keep the system in check.

Re:Metric Units. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232219)

Why are the USA still not using them?

Because we don't want to. Deal with it.

Re:Metric Units. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232289)

Physical constants are subject to the rule of Law in America, and thus the Metric System is invalid on its face.

Re:Metric Units. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232371)

Physical constants are subject to the rule of Law in America, and thus the Metric System is invalid on its face.

What does that even mean ?

Re:Metric Units. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232613)

Probably for the same reason the non-USA still do not use a metric clock. Because they don't want to.

Re:Metric Units. (3, Interesting)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44232619)

Why are the USA still not using them?

Because Jimmy Carter only served one term and Ronald Regan didn't like the metric system.

Of course it won't hit the US (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232029)

Because the Germans at VW and the American regulators are all a bunch of FUCKING ASSHOLES.

Re:Of course it won't hit the US (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44232113)

Because the Germans at VW and the American regulators are all a bunch of ***** *****.

Actually, you're at great personal risk in one of these on roads populated with mobile-phone-yakking motorists in pickup trucks and SUVs (not that even a smart couldn't flatten you.) Use of a mobile phone while driving should be treated with the same severity as drunk driving.

Re:Of course it won't hit the US (4, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | about 9 months ago | (#44232191)

Basically. The vehicle's so lightly built that a fricking DODGE OMNI will tear through you like you were toilet paper.

Over in Germany, if someone spatters themselves on (or by the side of) the road, it's the driver's fault for not knowing their car.

Here in the US, it's the manufacturer's fault for not making the car crash-survivable.

Re:Of course it won't hit the US (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44232253)

Basically. The vehicle's so lightly built that a fricking DODGE OMNI will tear through you like you were toilet paper.

Over in Germany, if someone spatters themselves on (or by the side of) the road, it's the driver's fault for not knowing their car.

Here in the US, it's the manufacturer's fault for not making the car crash-survivable.

Never mind the willingness of people in Pickup Trucks to drive 70, 80 or 90 MPH in them. Remember when a Pickup was a farm or construction vehicle and could scarcely get over 55?

Re:Of course it won't hit the US (1)

TheReaperD (937405) | about 9 months ago | (#44232973)

Remember when a Pickup was a farm or construction vehicle and could scarcely get over 55?

No

Re:Of course it won't hit the US (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 9 months ago | (#44232345)

Here in the US, it's the manufacturer's fault for not making the car crash-survivable.

But what about all those idiots making claims that "Loud pipes saves lives"? You know, those same guys that don't wear helmets?

They chose to ride an inherently dangerous machine. So dangerous, in fact, that they will make claims that the only thing saving them from an untimely end are exhaust pipes so loud they will blow out the eardrum of an adjacent motorist. Helmets? Nah! It's our freedom to ride without them! Safety? Nah! That's your fucking problem if my bike gives you permanent hearing damage.

Re:Of course it won't hit the US (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44232439)

I live in California, which is a Helmet state, but incredibly it allows for Lane Splitting, which really was about noodling between stationary vehicles, not racing between moving traffic.

When I worked in the Bay area there wasn't a day that went by where traffic reports didn't tell of at least one motorcycle down somewhere in the area.

I enjoyed riding on back roads in Michigan, but hated riding in California so sold my motorbike.

Re:Of course it won't hit the US (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44232681)

Here in the US, it's the manufacturer's fault for not making the car crash-survivable.

But what about all those idiots making claims that "Loud pipes saves lives"? You know, those same guys that don't wear helmets?

They chose to ride an inherently dangerous machine. So dangerous, in fact, that they will make claims that the only thing saving them from an untimely end are exhaust pipes so loud they will blow out the eardrum of an adjacent motorist. Helmets? Nah! It's our freedom to ride without them! Safety? Nah! That's your fucking problem if my bike gives you permanent hearing damage.

No matter how loud or how often somebody makes a claim doesn't make it true. Take loud pipes on a motor cycle, since the most come car/motor cycle accident is where a car pulls out into traffic because they didn't see the motorcycle, loud pipes don't make a difference because the car pulling out is in front of them. But if motorcyclist want to argue that loud pipes make them easier to be noticed, well, so would blaze orange helmets and vests like deer hunters wear.

Re:Of course it won't hit the US (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44232653)

Basically. The vehicle's so lightly built that a fricking DODGE OMNI will tear through you like you were toilet paper.

Over in Germany, if someone spatters themselves on (or by the side of) the road, it's the driver's fault for not knowing their car.

Here in the US, it's the manufacturer's fault for not making the car crash-survivable.

Actually, in most of Europe, vehicle safety is concerned with protecting who you hit, particularly pedestrians versus you the driver or the occupants of the vehicle. That doesn't mean that automakers don't exceed those standards, but that is a priority. VW even admited that their test fleet of these vehicles had to get a special waiver because it didn't have a passenger side air bag.

That said, VW also said not to expect this vehicle in the US as it would not meet US safety standards and would have to be totally re-engineered to do so which would probably kill the high mileage it gets.

Proper units (-1, Redundant)

stud9920 (236753) | about 9 months ago | (#44232041)

What's a mile ? A gallon ? A pound ? Do they use those units in Germany ? This summary only makes sense in Myanmar, Liberia and the US. Was it that hard to convert into proper unit, at least as a complement, as most of us will have to do now ? If you can't bother to adapt to your readership, your readership won't bother adapt to you.

Re:Proper units (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232171)

A mile is 8 furlongs and a gallon is 8 pints. So this car can do 262 furlongs per pint. That's quite an achievement considering it's mass is 125 stones.

Re:Proper units (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 9 months ago | (#44232269)

Damn it! I spit coffee all over my keyboard because of your post.

Re: Proper units (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232565)

Sue the GP poster. There was no caveat re: drinking hot coffee while reading his post :)

Re:Proper units (1)

FrankSchwab (675585) | about 9 months ago | (#44232387)

But the Stone is a fundamental unit of Weight, not Mass. Divide the result by 0.04848 furlongs/s^2 to get a meaningful result.

Re:Proper units (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44232713)

What's a mile ? A gallon ? A pound ? Do they use those units in Germany ? This summary only makes sense in Myanmar, Liberia and the US. Was it that hard to convert into proper unit, at least as a complement, as most of us will have to do now ? If you can't bother to adapt to your readership, your readership won't bother adapt to you.

Most of the rest of the world is pretty good at adapting US speak to their usage such as miles and gallons to metric. The problem is when it has to go the other way around. Don't fault our /. overlords because they had to dumb down the summary so those in the US could understand it.

Wasn't the basis of this on a PBS show? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232065)

I remember watching a show on PBS in the recent past where the technology of designing cars was investigated. The kit at the end was some prof somewhere that suggested the carbon frame and directly reducing weight is what will be needed to increase vehicle mileage in the future. Am I crazy? Anyone?
-Daiv

DeLorean? (1)

thesameguy (1047504) | about 9 months ago | (#44232073)

Why are talking about a two year old concept car as if it's a new thing?

Re:DeLorean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232225)

Remember this is Slashdot and two years old is news.

262mpg average? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232085)

So it has a 2.6 gallon tank for the motor and a max range of 310 miles. I'd say the range is closer to 119mpg.

European car (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232117)

Since this is an European car, I demand all data to be transformed in furlongs per pint and stones.

At what cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232133)

My 2000 Honda insight has a curb weight of 1,880 lbs, While I can't touch 262mpg I still get about 69 mpg, and that's in a car with most modern safety features, over a decade old, and at a not unreasonable price....

Re:At what cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232251)

Impressive mileage numbers. I'll tell you though, I've seen an Insight break hard and try to take a corner with moderate aggression. Good god. That's just an awful car. I doubt an Insight could hold it's own against a leaf spring car from the 60's.

Re:At what cost? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44232455)

My 2000 Honda insight has a curb weight of 1,880 lbs, While I can't touch 262mpg I still get about 69 mpg, and that's in a car with most modern safety features, over a decade old, and at a not unreasonable price....

Adapt it for motorcycle wheels and you'll get better mileage.

Neat, but unsafe. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232139)

Given the drag coefficient, I assume this car exhibits Laminar flow. This can get disrupted by external factors (say getting passed by a buss) and result in localized turbulent flow. This would drastically increase the drag on one part of the car, causing a sudden unexpected side load, likely causing a turn (into the passing bus). An airplane bouncing around is not much of an issue, but when your car moves over 6 feet sideways on the freeway unexpectedly, it can be rather bad.

Generally maximally aerodynamic cars are not safe. They may not have gotten to that point, or may have cleverly worked around the issues, but given the lack of side mirrors, I think mileage was the priority over safety here. Its a neat technical feet, but as mentioned in the article, its dangerous in multiple respects.

Re:Neat, but unsafe. (3, Funny)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44232741)

Given the drag coefficient, I assume this car exhibits Laminar flow. This can get disrupted by external factors (say getting passed by a buss) and result in localized turbulent flow. This would drastically increase the drag on one part of the car, causing a sudden unexpected side load, likely causing a turn (into the passing bus). An airplane bouncing around is not much of an issue, but when your car moves over 6 feet sideways on the freeway unexpectedly, it can be rather bad.

Generally maximally aerodynamic cars are not safe. They may not have gotten to that point, or may have cleverly worked around the issues, but given the lack of side mirrors, I think mileage was the priority over safety here. Its a neat technical feet, but as mentioned in the article, its dangerous in multiple respects.

I drive a 1972 VW beetle as a daily driver. You get used to your car moving over 6 feet sideways on the freeway unexpectedly and come to anticipate it. Before long it is just like operating a clutch, you just don't think about it. :)

Re:Neat, but unsafe. (1)

Cramer (69040) | about 9 months ago | (#44232799)

Even modern US road legal cars can have problems with cross wind. Granted the safety regulations test these things, so they aren't out of control when a semi screams by. The XL1 simply doesn't have the tire traction to hold it's own here; without computers (abs) the loss of control will not end well.

2,921 pounds? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232145)

A Prius weighs 2,921 pounds? A Fort Pinto with a steel body and cast iron engine weights 2,015–2,270 lbs according to Wikipedia. A 1965 Chevy Nova with FOUR DOORS and a cast iron small block V8 only weighs 2935 lbs [novaresource.org]. How in the name of all fucked up eco bullshit engineering does a Prius weigh 2921??

Wait. I got it. That's how much extra luxury crap it takes to actually get the liberal gentry to buy one.

Ok. Yeah. That makes sense.

Re:2,921 pounds? (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 9 months ago | (#44232343)

The Prius is built to MUCH higher crash safety standards than the Pinto or the Nova.

It is also expected to perform better, be much quieter, and last far longer than that old junk. The Pinto and Nova were econoboxes built as cheaply as possible.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1977/09/pinto-madness [motherjones.com]

The Prius is also carrying a hefty battery pack.

Re:2,921 pounds? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44232773)

The Prius is built to MUCH higher crash safety standards than the Pinto or the Nova.

It is also expected to perform better, be much quieter, and last far longer than that old junk. The Pinto and Nova were econoboxes built as cheaply as possible.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1977/09/pinto-madness [motherjones.com]

The Prius is also carrying a hefty battery pack.

The Pinto today's dollars also cost 1/3 the price of a Prius. Any of them (Prius, Pinto, Nova) hitting an SUV at freeway speeds won't make much different for the occupants. The Pinto, btw, was Ford's response to the VW Beetle. The Nova, on the other hand was actually a family sedan. Might you mean the Vega?

Re:2,921 pounds? (1)

Cosgrach (1737088) | about 9 months ago | (#44232607)

My Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser weighs in at over 4,000 lbs. 3,427 lbs stock curb weight + another 600 (+/- 50lbs) of off-road accessories.

41 years old and getting 16 city and 22+ on the highway. Best ever was 25mpg.

VW (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 9 months ago | (#44232151)

You'd have five service trips before the first gallon is burned.

German cars are enjoyable to drive, but they are high maintenance vehicles and seem designed that way.

Ask VW owners about engine oil mysteriously disappearing - this is no joke.

Re:VW (1)

Cramer (69040) | about 9 months ago | (#44232843)

I think you're refering to the "antifreeze in the trunk" mystery. (we know where the oil is going. :-))

Not 261 MPG (3, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 9 months ago | (#44232177)

Sensationalist bullshit. From the article:

Volkswagen claims a consumption rating equivalent to 261 mpg; but that's using the full charge of the battery.

310 miles in all, starting out on a charge, on its 2.6-gallon (yes, that's right) fuel tank.

Not sure what "starting out on a charge" means, but if it means starting with zero battery power, the mileage is 119.23 -- and that is only according to the manufacturer. The test drive in the article was too short and limited to be meaningful.

Not as fun to drive though (1)

phocutus (670853) | about 9 months ago | (#44232259)

Kudos to VW for this achievement. However, I'll keep on driving my 1982 diesel Westfalia. For me, the driving experience is better :) For one, I never have to worry about speeding ;)

Not going to available in USA (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 9 months ago | (#44232359)

Because it has a top speed of 99mph, it has to obey all the passenger car safety requirements. If they use some software to limit the speed to 25mph, they can sell it USA as a Lowspeed vehicle. But anyway they are only planning to make 250 vehicles for the European market.

I think in a decade or so, all the cars will get an electric motor as the zeroth gear.If the IC engine has work only above 5mph or 7mph they can tune it completely differently and improve fuel economy by 50% easily. Much of the fuel economy of the Prius comes from the engine that does not have to work below 10 mph. It would not be too expensive to store enough juice to pull the car up to 5 or 10mph a few times.

The Math to 261MPG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232389)

Great work on what it would take for a 100MPG+ vehicle. http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/07/100-mpg-on-gasoline/

Anywhere near 261Mpg is highly unlikely after using up the battery

bumblebees have a Cv of 0.189? (1)

tygt (792974) | about 9 months ago | (#44232415)

drag coefficient of only 0.189 – similar to a bumblebee.

If a bumblebee has such a low drag coefficient I'd be completely astounded - I'd guess closer to 0.5.

Interesting specs... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44232423)

1.6l engine, 48hp, 1753 lbs sounds a lot like my 72 beetle that has a 1600cc engine 54hp and weighed 1800 lbs. Of course, it only gets 27mpg around town and about 32 on the highway, Besides, it's fun to drive by the school yards and watch the kids all punch each other in the arm and yell "Slug bug!"

Re:Interesting specs... (1)

sabri (584428) | about 9 months ago | (#44232853)

1.6l engine, 48hp, 1753 lbs sounds a lot like my 72 beetle that has a 1600cc engine 54hp and weighed 1800 lbs. Of course, it only gets 27mpg around town and about 32 on the highway, Besides, it's fun to drive by the school yards and watch the kids all punch each other in the arm and yell "Slug bug!"

You should see those kids if I drive by in my Porsche Boxter :)

Safety "concerns" are silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232427)

Sure, an ultralight care is not going to keep you safe from the idiot driving and SUV with his knees while texting with one hand and cramming french fries into his mouth with the other. Unsafe drivers fall under "there are seldom good technological solutions for behavioral problems". Building more and more heavily armored cars doesn't solve the problem because unsafe drivers can buy them and become that more dangerous to others.

The real problem is that cars are so overbuilt that they are menace to each other and to every other road user.

I ride bikes on roads with cars, so why would I worry about driving a car that offers minimal protection? I would just as soon realize the efficiency and cost advantages of more lightly built cars and take my chances since they are pretty much the same chances I take when I travel by bike (or on foot).

Showboat Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232541)

I bet the MPG drops by 10% if you peel the packing tape off the seams.

I remember when Shell was building high MPG test vehicles with bicycle tires and a lawnmower engine. They would crank it up as fast as it would go and then shutdown the motor and coast to a stop. Wash, rinse and repeat.

None of what they learned was ever applied to consumer use.

Carbon Fiber? Who is going to repair and recycle? (1)

eepok (545733) | about 9 months ago | (#44232597)

Ya, I love the strength per weight that carbon fiber brings, but the stuff is (as of yet) unrecyclable and non-repurposable. Shatter a bit of carbon fiber and all you have is is a bunch of broken carbon fiber. The repair process is shaky and there's no reclamation process for the baked final product...

My idea of a an irony-laden "green" auto:
Carbon Fiber Frame/body
Plug-In Battery Electric
Owned and Operated in Appalachia

Metals are recyclable. Plastics can be recyclable. When we keep our eyes on the cradle-to-grave aspect, we make better judgements for the futures of our children, grandchildren, etc.

Thankfully won't hit North America. (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 9 months ago | (#44232655)

VW makes THE dullest looking vehicles on the market today. Even as a prototype this XL1 wouldn't even look cool or modern in an 80's James Bond flick staring Timothy Dalton.. I actually puked a little bit looking at this thing. Its like they started off with a boring Jetta front and then just gave up as they reached the back.

Das "Boring" Auto.

Too Light to Last (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 9 months ago | (#44232709)

Light weight cars go crumble on the autobahn. Bad news. I would rather get lower mpg and be safe. Better yet, I minimize travel.

Re:Too Light to Last (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 9 months ago | (#44232787)

Light weight cars go crumble on the autobahn. Bad news. I would rather get lower mpg and be safe. Better yet, I minimize travel.

This one is made out of carbon fiber. It also only has a top speed of 78, so it probably won't have a problem with "crumbling" on the autobahn. 1) it's stronger than steel and 2) it doesn't go fast enough for the vibration to be a probelm.

Bullshit (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 9 months ago | (#44232793)

Interesting how they say their measurements start with a full battery charge but don't say they end with a full battery charge. It's almost as though the so-called MPG number is totally made up out of thin air.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44232953)

Interesting how they say their measurements start with a full battery charge but don't say they end with a full battery charge. It's almost as though the so-called MPG number is totally made up out of thin air.

As much as I agree with you that it's sensationalist (possibly marketing) bullshit, there's this thing called interpolation. You know, run the battery down 5%, measure how far you've gone and multiply that by 20. Not that it's an accurate way to measure MPG, it's at least an educated guess and not just pulling things out of thin air.

Not really (5, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | about 9 months ago | (#44232951)

From T3rdFA:

The XL1 has a 27-hp electric battery, which can propel it about 31 miles on its own, up to 62 mph. It can fully recharge, Volkswagen says, in an hour and a half. The maximum speed overall, using the full hybrid drivetrain, is 94 mph. Thereâ(TM)s a 2.6-gallon fuel tank, which lets the XL1 achieve a total range of 310 miles

So subtract the 31 miles on battery, leaving 279 miles on gas, and it can get 107.3 MPG on gas alone. The 262 MPG figure probably comes from a shorter test drive where the first 31 miles were on battery, the remainder on gas, then attributing the total distance to gas. Which if I did my math right is a 52.5 mile run.

Thing is, if you're going to cheat this way, why not just make it a 32 mile run and claim your car gets over 3400 MPG.

It's also worth pointing out that outside of research, these ultra-high mileage vehicles are rather pointless. MPG is the inverse of fuel consumption, so higher MPG means smaller savings. e.g. Consider a trip of 300 miles in a variety of different cars:

15 MPG SUV = 20 gallons consumed
25 MPG sedan = 12 gallons consumed
50 MPG hybrid = 6 gallons consumed
100 MPG research car = 3 gallons consumed
300 MPG super-car = 1 gallon consumed

So if you consider a switch from an SUV to a super-car on a 300 mile trip, where exactly do the 19 gallons of fuel saved come from?

8 gallons saved comes from the 10 MPG jump from 15 to 25 MPG.
6 gallons saved comes from the 25 MPG jump from 25 to 50 MPG.
3 gallons saved comes from the 50 MPG jump from 50 MPG to 100 MPG.
2 gallons saved comes from the 200 MPG jump from 100 MPG to 300 MPG.

The biggest fuel savings comes from the low end of the MPG range. The smallest savings from the high end. Or in other words, in a SUV to super-car switch:

42.1% of the fuel savings comes from the 15-25 MPG jump
31.6% of the fuel savings comes from the 25-50 MPG jump
15.8% of the fuel savings comes from the 50-100 MPG jump
10.5% of the fuel savings comes from the 100-300 MPG jump

Diminishing returns says the cost-effectiveness of improving mileage rapidly drops off above about 50 MPG. If we want to reduce overall fuel consumption, we should be concentrating on ad campaigns to get people out of gas guzzlers into smaller cars. Not concentrating on designing ultra-high mileage vehicles.

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