Volkswagen is determined to bring this 189mpg hybrid two-seater to showrooms by 2013.
The L1 concept has a drag coefficient of just 0.195 and is powered by an 800cc two-stroke diesel, coupled to an electric motor. It emits just 39g/km of CO2 and was launched at the Frankfurt motor show today.
The powerplant develops up to 29bhp in ‘sport’ mode, along with 74lb ft of torque at 1900rpm. The car’s top speed is 99mph and 0-62mph takes 14.3sec. The 14bhp electric motor steps in under acceleration, lifting torque by 40 per cent.
As low as Lamborghini’s Murcielago but as long as a VW Fox, the L1’s body is made from carbonfibre-reinforced plastic, keeping total weight down to 380kg.
“The whole project is being pitched as a possible production car for around 2013,” said a VW spokesman. Inside the L1 is more like an aircraft cockpit than a car. The adjustable front seat is made from slender carbon fibre and the rear passenger chair is built into the monoqoque.
Set into the body of the car is the instrument panel and the rear-view mirror is replaced by an LED display.
The 1-litre concept driven by Dr Ferdinand Piech, the chairman of the VW board, between Wolfsburg and Hamburg in 2002, is the inspiration for the L1.
VW says the production costs of carbonfibre were too high seven years ago but modern techniques have made it selling the L1 a possibility.