Futuristic VW To Hit the Streets, Gets 260 MPG

by Avinash Saxena

It looks like something from a science fiction movie, but this Volkswagen Formula XL1 plug-in hybrid vehicle will actually be available for sale to real drivers like you and me.

Concept cars such as this are usually built one at a time, gracing trade shows and the pages of flashy auto publications. But according to German site Automobilwoche, this bulbous futuremobile is destined to be a regular production car, albeit part of a small batch of just 100 to start out. The first VW Formula XL1 will be available in Germany, and after that, they’ll roll out in the United States and China.

The XL1 could become more conventional before it hits the production line; we can’t be sure if it’ll look the same or have the same power plant as its futuristic showpiece ancestor. That car was introduced at the Qatar Motor Show, and it had an unusual combo under the hood, including a lithium-ion battery-powered electric motor that’ll propel the car for about 22 miles on a charge, after which a tiny 0.8-liter two-cylinder turbodiesel engine kicks in to assist. That sounds vaguely similar to the upcoming Chevy Volt.

Keeping the car hyper-efficient is its super-lightweight carbon fiber body panels. Sounds expensive, but Volkswagen says even though the car has the second-highest number of carbon fiber parts (the million-dollar Bugatti Veyron has the most carbon fiber on board), its body will cost a mere $6,800. No one’s talking price of the overall vehicle just yet, nor are they saying exactly when the first XL1 will be available.

Look in the gallery for a variety of views of this dolphin-shaped conveyance, and don’t miss its unusual seating arrangement, in which the passenger sits slightly behind the driver, said to increase fuel efficiency even more. Fuel-efficient or not, we are all filled with want. This looks like the cars they showed at the World’s Fair in the ’60s when they were talking about “The Future.”

 

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