Volkswagen’s XL1 Goes To The Museum

The Volkswagen XL1, also known as the world’s most fuel-efficient hybrid car, is already becoming a museum piece!

The XL1 will be displayed at the Design Museum in London alongside other examples of design excellence and Designs of the Year award nominees from a range of disciplines. The display started March 27 and goes on until August 25.

Now in its seventh year, the Designs of the Year exhibition gathers together cutting-edge innovation and original talent, showcasing the very best in global Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphic, Product and Transport design.

Volkswagen said the Volkswagen XL1 features in the Transport category, and was nominated for the exhibition by author and automotive design and technology expert, Andrew Nahum, whose publications include ‘Fifty Cars That Changed The World’.

Designed by a team led by Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen brand, the XL1 is a limited series production two-seat car that explores the limits of energy efficiency for a road-legal production vehicle.

Volkswagen explained the design brief for the XL1 was to produce a ‘one litre’ car – that is to say, a car that uses one liter of fuel per 100 kilometer, equivalent to 282 miles per imperial gallon.  The resulting vehicle uses just 0.9 liter per 100 kilometer, or 313 imperial mpg, and this high mpg figure correlates to a carbon dioxide emissions value of 21 g/km.

Per Volkswagen, to achieve this fuel consumption figure, the XL1 was aerodynamically optimized, adopting the classic ‘tear drop’ shape and utilizing innovations such as removing traditional wing mirrors and replacing them with small cameras called e-Mirrors which transmit exterior images to interior displays.

The XL1 is powered by a two-cylinder 800 cc diesel engine combined to an electric motor; power from this drivetrain is sent through a seven-speed triple clutch transmission.

Per Volkswagen, the XL1 is handcrafted using small series production processes at the company’s Osnabrück factory in Germany.  For the required combination of lightness and strength, its body is made largely of carbon-fiber reinforced polymer.

Alongside the Volkswagen XL1 in the exhibition is found among other items, Kate Moss’s favorite app, a floating school in a Nigerian lagoon, friendly lamp posts and a mobile phone you can build yourself.  Exhibits come from a variety of sources including international design stars such as Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield and Miuccia Prada, as well as crowd-funded start-ups and student projects.