Amidst the electric revolution there is also a hard push by car companies to make 'what we have' more efficient. The anxiety associated with worries about range and recharging points is alleviated if you have the best of both worlds, diesel and electric. Yet in the automotive world car companies are obsessed with performance, its all about the numbers. Volkgswagen knows this, they tried to prove a performance point when they went through the painstaking task of producing the Bugatti Veyron with a top speed of 270 mph! But at what cost? and why? They seem to have learned the lesson and have tried to find deeper meaning of the word performance...efficiency. Its a clean, modern, and very contemporary interpretation embodied in the new Xl1 SEV unveiled yesterday,
First seen as the 1-Litre in 2002, and then the L1 in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show the XL1 is bigger and heavier but closer to a real world solution. Revealed yesterday at the Qatar Motor Show it was announced that the plug-in hybrid drivetrain and innovative packaging return 313 mpg on a combined cycle emitting a mere 24g/km of CO2. The combination of a compact 800cc TDi two-cylinder diesel engine and an electric motor allows drivers to take longer trips, up to 340 miles, without refilling or recharging. The setting where it was unveiled emphasises its efficiency, dense cities can be navigated on E-Drive alone within the 20 miles range while the combined hybrid can be used when the driver sets out into the dunes.
Much of the efficient performance is achieved by cutting down on weight. In total the XL1 SEV weighs 795 kg, achieved by using lightweight materials and reducing the amount of steel used. Its footprint is similar to a Volksgwagen Polo yet its height is closer to a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. These comparisons were made by Volgswagen and highlights their intention to place this vehicle in a market segment of its own, a new crossover. They call it SEV but we think it should be Super Efficient Performance Vehicle, SEPV. You read it here first!
Aesthetically the XL1 also marks a new direction in styling green cars. Using hints of futuristic designs such as Syd Mead's from the eighties, in the wheel cover and single formed taillight, and mixing it with taught sinewed Bauhaus lines the concept looks the part. Unlike the tandem arrangement of the L1 the XL1 features a staggered seating arrangement that makes access and using it more comfortable and practical. The viewer instinctively knows that something eco is going on and one can easily understand that the construction and performance of such a car will be 'different'. And this is key to the development of car design, by taking a footnote from the Bauhaus movement, 'form follows function' we can release ourselves from what cars looks like today, many of them a boring mess, and move on to tomorrow. Fingers crossed...