2003 Volkswagen 1-Litre Car Concept | Volkswagen Cars
Volkswagen Cars: 2003 Volkswagen 1-Litre Car Concept

2003 Volkswagen 1-Litre Car Concept

Volkswagen 1-litre car

The VW 1-litre car is a two-person concept car designed to travel 100 km using just 1 litre of fuel (equivalent to 235 miles per US gallon or 282 mpg Imperial). To achieve such economy, it is made from lightweight materials; the body is streamlined; and the engine and transmission are designed and tuned for economy.

For aerodynamics, the car seats two in tandem, rather than side-by-side. There are no rear view mirrors and it instead uses cameras and electronic displays. The rear wheels are close together to allow a streamlined body. The drag coefficient (Cd) is 0.16, compared to 0.30 for typical cars.

For light weight, the car uses an unpainted carbon fibre skin over a magnesium subframe. Individual components have been designed for low weight, including engine, transmission, suspension, wheels (carbon fibre), brakes (aluminium), hubs (titanium), bearings (ceramic), interior, and so on. Empty vehicle weight is 290 kg (639 lb).

The engine is a 299 cc (18.2 in³) diesel producing just 6.3 kW (8.5 hp). It drives through a six-speed transmission that combines stick-shift mechanics, weight, and drive efficiency with automatic convenience and efficiency controls. The engine is switched off automatically during deceleration and stops. According to Volkswagen, fuel economy is 0.99 L per 100 km (238 mpg US, 285 mpg Imperial). A 6.5 L tank (1.7 US gallons), gives a driving range of 650 km (400 miles). If diesel were $3 a gallon, it would cost a little over $5 to travel 400 miles.

The body and frame are designed with crush zones and roll-over protection, and the tandem seating means large side crush zones. Volkswagen claims protection comparable to a GT racing car, though the light weight compromises safety in collision with heavier vehicles.

There is 80 L of storage space.

Like other concept cars, Volkswagen has announced no production plans. However, the clearly substantial engineering effort combined with being the only car in its category has led many to be enthusiastically hopeful the car will reach production.