According to Interbrand’s 2013 Best Global Green Brands ranking, Volkswagen came in seventh. Volkswagen has an efficiency leading concept car known as the XL1. It boasts an ultra-light structure (1,750 pounds) that makes extensive use of composites, and a hybrid power train.
The 0.8-liter diesel twin produces 48 horsepower and comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG). The diesel engine is assisted by a 27-hp electric motor system powered by a 5.5-kWh lithium-ion battery. All together, the power train produces 68 hp and 103 lb-ft in its ‘boosting mode.’The XL1 can go 310 miles on a single charge.
Drivers can manually select a pure-electric mode. It also has a leading coefficient of drag of just 0.189. The dashboard is made of a natural fiber, with a magnesium cross-member, while side windows are polycarbonate. The car also has camera systems alongside the vehicle, with little smartphone-sized screens.
In addition to its range, what makes this vehicle truly exceptional is its fuel efficiency rating of 261 MPGe. While this is Volkswagen’s own estimate, one of those that test drove the vehicle, gauged its a fuel economy to be 0.7
– 1.4 l/100km which is equivalent to 168 mpg.
However, the caveat is that almost nobody in the general public will ever own one. Volkswagen is only making 250 production XL1s for Europe but it will not be available in the U.S. as it does not meet minimum safety requirements. However some of the car’s features may make it to production vehicles bound for the U.S. Volkswagen has already confirmed that one of those features is the dual-clutch modular hybrid power train configuration.
At the New York International Auto Show, German automaker Audi, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen group, confirmed that it will offer its A3 Sportback e-Tron plug-in hybrid in the U.S. The company unveiled the production model at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. The vehicle has a 1.4-liter TSI turbocharge four cylinder engine combined with a 75-kw electric motor. The two power units produce a combined 204 horsepower.
Volkswagen has also invested in sustainability at its facilities. Early in 2013, Volkswagen opened a 33
acres solar park adjacent to its LEED Platinum manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. The 9.5 MW solar park contains 33,600 solar modules that produce 13.1 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, said Green Car Reports. They are also planning to build other facilities modeled on the Chattanooga plant.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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