The Frankfurt Motor Show marked the world debut of the new Volkswagen L1 Concept, a cigar-shaped diesel-electric hybrid that draws inspiration from Wolfsburg's original 1-litre concept car that was unveiled back in April 2002. Despite its name, the L1 actually burns a little over 1 lt at 1,38 liter of diesel for every 100 kilometers or about 170mpg US / 204.7mpg UK, while emitting just 39 g/km of CO2.
It may look weird, but the L1 is extremely aerodynamic featuring a co-efficient of drag figure of just 0.195 while the use of aluminium and carbon fibre materials in its construction results to a kerb weight of only 380kg or 830 pounds.
Measuring 3,813 mm in length, the L1 is about as long as a Polo, however at just 1,143 mm in height, it's as low as a Lamborghini Murcielago while its width, at just 1,200 mm, is narrower than any conventional car in the market today.
The concept model can seat two passengers in tandem, with the driver of course sitting up front. Both occupants enter the car through a side-hinging, electrically operated canopy.
Power is provided from a 0.8-liter diesel engine derived from the 1.6-litre TDI unit found in the new Golf BlueMotion and a 14-horsepower electric motor that engages either to take over from the diesel for short distances or to offer extra grunt when additional acceleration is required.
Volkswagen says that the L1 accelerates to 100km/h (62 mph) from rest in 14.3 seconds before reaching a maximum speed of 160km/h or 99 mph. Even though the L1 has a small 10-litre fuel tank, thanks to its extremely low fuel consumption, the driver can cover a distance (in theory always) of 725 kilometers or 450 miles between stops.
VW 1-Liter Concept - 2002
VW L1 Concept - 2009