EnviroNews: VW 1-Litre Car

Quite possibly my biggest passion is automobiles. Cars, motorcycles, go-carts, tractors – if it moves under its own power I have to know how it works and try to make it work better. This often puts me in a predicament when talking to/about environmentalists/environmentalism. In articles like this one, I get to play both sides. In 2002, Volkswagen unveiled a prototype vehicle in an effort to achieve the goal of 1L/100km – and then they beat it. Coming in at .89L/100km over a 220km trip from Wolfsburg to Hamburg, Germany the VW 1L gets an astonishing 264 mpg! The brilliance in the design is in both the major weight reduction as well as the astonishingly low coefficient of drag. The 1L is a lightweight at 290 kg (240 lbs) but don’t let its small size or light weight fool you, with most components being made of aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber the 1L boasts collision safety on par with GT racecars. The coefficient of drag is also on par with some racers at .159, while your standard Honda Civic boasts a drag coefficient of about .30. This lower coefficient means that the car is getting through the air much more easily – this means the engine can work less to maintain the same speed, which in turn means less gas is used. The 1L is equipped with a 300cc single cylinder diesel engine, producing enough horsepower to maintain 120km/h (75 mph).

More info here and here.

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