Saturday, May 17, 2008

Volkswagen May Actually Produce Their One Liter Car

“The conceptual necessity for a small frontal area led to an unusually narrow and very flat body form being chosen. The body was developed in a wind tunnel, is 3.47 metres long, but just 1.25 metres wide and just over a metre in height, and is made completely of carbon fibre composites. To save weight, it is of course not painted. The carbon-fibre-reinforced outer skin is tensioned over a spaceframe that is not made of aluminium, but rather of magnesium, which is even lighter… Deformation elements at the front end and the spaceframe construction provide impact and roll-over protection comparable to that of a GT racing car.”

While generally eschewing cleaner engines unless they really, really had to reduce emissions, VW engineers certainly are recognized for their game-changing, efficient designs. When the Rocky Mountain Institute first developed the Hypercar concept, Volkswagen showed a two seat in tandem, streamlined microcar, dubbed the 1-liter car.
The name, Sam “Mister Motor Authority — You Vill Use Oil” Abuelsamid tells us, “came from the fuel consumption of 1 L/100km or 235 mpg.

While at the time [2002] no one seriously expected this to be put in
production. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn has now confirmed that a plastic and
magnesium super mini would indeed by built in limited numbers by 2010. The car
will be powered by a 300cc single cylinder engine yielding a top speed of 75

While the two seat (side-by-side), streamlined three-wheel vehicle looks to be quite fragile, it is designed to be safe as well as fuel efficient with an an inner crash box, crush-able / absorbing material and airbags to protect the driver and passenger. The company announced last week that they now are accepting orders.
Without an electric drive with advanced lithium batteries, this is no different than what was originally developed. It could compete on the basis of price with the Aptera, which also is very sleek and thus requires fewer mega Joules to go the same distance. Perhaps, VW dealers can hope that shoppers won’t look for a plug. Now the question is, can it get a Five Star safety rating, like its competition?

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