Will the 270-MPG Car Become Reality?

February 22nd, 2013

Volkswagen XL1

Remember back in 2008, when General Motors said the coming Chevy Volt would be certified as a 100-mpg vehicle? It was big news back in the day. Now, though, we can all look back and laugh at the ridiculousness of such a claim. The EPA says the Volt gets a combined 37-mpg rating, though on all-electric power it’s rated at 94-mpge (miles per gallon equivalent).

So when an automaker makes grandiose claims that a new car can get unheard of gas mileage numbers, you’ll forgive the skepticism.

Volkswagen, though, has been working on such a vehicle for more than a decade. If the latest news is true, expect a 270-mpg V-Dub to debut very soon.

In just a few weeks, Volkswagen will likely debut the production version of what’s known as the XL1. The aerodynamic 2-seater would become the most fuel efficient production vehicle in the world. Power comes from a meager 47-horsepower, 2-cylinder diesel engine connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. A 27-hp lithium-ion electric motor helps out the small oil burner. All three combine to give somewhat decent performance figures: 0-62 miles per hour in 12.7 seconds and a top speed of nearly 100 mph.

The plug-in hybrid system, in conjunction with a slippery shape and a 1,753-pound curb weight, produces an average of almost 270 mpg. In addition, the XL1 can go up to 31 miles on battery power alone.

Of course, there’s a catch.

Volkswagen says it will produce up to 1,000 vehicles per year, and each will be hand-built in a German factory. Between that and all the carbon fiber and cutting-edge technology behind the XL1, I expect it to carry a supercar-like price.

Still, it’s almost guaranteed that Volkswagen will sell every last one of them. Assuming, of course, that it lives up to its lofty claims.

How much would you pay for a car that gets 270 miles per gallon?

-tgriffith

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