Volkswagen is gearing up for a limited production of the VW-1L, named for its ability to travel 100 km on 1 L of gas, or 285 mi. per gallon.
A press release from the company states that the car, measuring in at 4.1 feet wide, 11.4 feet long and just over 3 feet tall, features a drag coefficient of 0.159. The company claims the 1L can travel 400 miles on its 1.7 gallon fuel tank while achieving a top speed of 75 mph.
To lighten the load, the car uses an unpainted carbon fiber skin over a magnesium-alloy subframe. Individual components have been designed for low weight, including engine, transmission, suspension, wheels (carbon fiber), brakes (aluminum), hubs (titanium) and bearings (ceramic). Empty vehicle weight is 639 lb.
The car seats two in tandem rather than side-by-side. Instead of rear view mirrors, it uses cameras and electronic displays. The rear wheels are close together to allow a streamlined body.
Despite its small size and light weight, Volkswagen claims the 1L is as safe as a GT sports car registered for racing. With the aid of computer crash simulations, the car was designed with built-in crash tubes, pressure sensors for airbag control and front crumple zones. Its aluminum fuel tank is located in a protected area behind the passenger.
According to car enthusiast magazine Motor Authority, pricing is expected to fall somewhere between $31,400 and $47,100. Volkswagen plans to manufacture a very limited number of these vehicles in 2010, so don’t expect to see one at your nearest VW dealership anytime soon.