VW 1-Liter Tandem City Car Tipped For 2010 Production

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As outrageous as the idea of a production 1L/100km (235mpg) car sounds, more reports have emerged confirming the ultra-frugal car is in fact in development and that it could be on the market by as early as 2010. At last year's Frankfurt Motor Show senior VW exec Ferdinand Piëch claimed the car would be available by the end of the decade and a month later, CEO Martin Winterkorn backed up the claim as well as providing some of the production details. The latest reports indicate the car might not be a single-cylinder petrol design like the concept, but a two-cylinder diesel-electric mild hybrid.

Discussing the car's sales potential last year, Winterkorn stressed that the 1-Liter “would not be a best seller” and thus will only be produced in limited numbers. Its body will be constructed from carbon fiber, plastic and magnesium. Top speed with the one-cylinder 0.3L engine of the 2002 1-Liter concept was expected to be around 120km/h with average fuel consumption around the 1L/100km mark (235mpg). Those numbers aren't expected to change much with the shift to the diesel hybrid design. The change is expected to add drivability and low-end acceleration to the car, although its lightweight will also make easy work for even the small engine and motor combination.

The vehicle's weight is estimated to be a mere 300kg (660lb) thanks to its small size, tandem seating configuration and lightweight construction. That would make the car a very difficult structure to secure in the event of an accident, especially with the panoramic fighter-jet style canopy over the occupants and the very low profile of the car. VW seems confident that it can get the car produced and certified for on-road use, however.

Pricing is expected to fall somewhere between €20,000 and €30,000 ($31,400 to $47,100). Assembly is tipped to take place in VW's prototype shop, which can produce 1,000 cars per year at full tilt.

The version from 2002 ended up doing even better than its target fuel efficiency, requiring just 0.89L/100km (achieving 264mpg). Whether the new diesel hybrid will achieve similar results remains to be seen. Click here to read our previous story on the VW 1-Liter.


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Comments (32)
  1. 1 L/100 KM.. holy crap

  2. That is impressive.
    But how light will this thing have to be? I just can't imagine driving a featherwieght car like that.

  3. Strange, my neighbor never thinks about how light his motorcycle is or his tiny sports car that costs outside of my imagination, but requires an intravenous line to the Middle East oil fields (supplied by the neighbor on the other side's son serving overseas.)

    Personally, I like the tandem VW, but especially if its comparative mileage is as high as the original. I'd love to see it as a BEV only vehicle or even an air car. (We have plenty of wind power to charge or pressurized vehicles in the upper midwest.) To reduce the cost if they choose to go electric, they could use the Firefly foam lead batteries, which weigh 1/3 the weight of a regular lead acid and has been proven to perform as well as lithium. If I need to take the family, which I never do on my daily work commute, I'd rent AC Propulsion's ebox van. (which you should read about before you comment.) If the ebox used Firefly batteries it would be cheaper too!

  4. does anyone get it. once this comes out, the gas could get 100 per gallon. the gasoline companies are not going to lose money.does any one remember in the 60's when vw made the bug it got 50 mpg. the tech. was always out there.it is all about the money

  5. Ron has hit the nail on the head. The gas companies need to keep the investment community happy so profits need to stay high. they have set the mark today and if users consume less gas the prices will need to go up. It's a vicious circle and the consumer will loose in the end no matter what. At some point the gas companies need to be regulated again ... it's clear they aren't serving the best interest of the people so long as they have to keep their stock prices up.

  6. Yes, a 235 mpg car will be a good buy. The car is not practical for a family, however. Hopefully this car makes it over to the USA. For those who need a commuter car.

  7. Very nice indeed, but why diesel? It smell, it's noisy, it's vibrating a lot.

    OK it's 20% more efficient, but who care to have a 240 or 200 MPG car?

    Also, gasoline engine can be convert to CNG to be even less noisy, or vibrating and no smell at all.

    Here in Europe we have 75% Diesel car (it start to be a nightmare) and a gallon of Diesel cost nearly the same as Gasoline, same in US, no?
    Anyway all the disadvantaged of the Diesel to only save one Dollars every 200 mile is a no sense

  8. WOW ! Great mileage. But, it doesn't look like a very practical car for a small family.
    The concept is good though. C'mon VW, get with the program. Make something we
    can utilize not just fantasize...

  9. WANT!

    Piech is going to launch a motorcycle division as well.

    Mario: this car is a good publicity move for acceptance of more practical high efficiency vehicles.

    This kind of car is ultra important.

  10. I'll be looking at converting the 1-Liter to all electric. The heck with the oil companies.

  11. Mario,
    Think outside the econobox. Almost every fuel-efficient car (here in the States, as well as Europe) is a four seater, four cylinder econobox. You have plenty of blandness to choose from. These are fine for a small family.
    Often the head of household will have a long commute. Why not let the commuting spouse use this fuel efficient car, saving the family money?

  12. comoooooon people, here we are talking about a car for going to work, not family car.
    why do we need 4 seaters, when only one person drives to work. for weekend you get minivan . every family drive a bigger one. for recreation you get SUV. i don't think a family has only 1 car.
    this tandem is perfect. i want it and want it now. the only i wish for is low price. please don't sell
    it more than 15-18 K

  13. 96% of the time there is only one person in this car. what's so wrong with everyone having a cheap method of transportation where there doesn't exist a viable public option?

    it'll take some time to get there, but this "car" really needs to sell for no more than $8,000 USD

  14. They will sell like hotcakes at 30k/car. Super-mileage cars are all the trend right now. It will take a good decade or more for hybrids/electric cars to come down in price. That will only happen once the high mileage standard is set for a while. 2010 is the year this will start.

  15. if some1 doesn't like it, that's OK. just don't buy it, but how about us, who want it.

  16. I don't care if I'm saving the earth and my wallet, I'm not driving the wiener mobile.

  17. This is a great plan vw. Can I ask if there are any 2 cycle engines coming or the 1966 turbine engine chyrsler experimented with. Uses any fuel you put in it. Anybody working on those designs. Just wanted to throw that into computer space.Hey everyone we need any and every solution to clean up earth. Before we choke to death!!!!!!!

  18. The naysayers don't get it. A diesel electric is good. A 666-pound car gets extraordinary mileage, because it weighs what a heavy motorcycle would, but has a fraction of the wind resistance of a motorctcle. And the Diesel is designed for economy not power, and the hybrid will add 15%+ to that. And the right transmission will add 20-25% to that. I don't calc how they get to 235 MPG, but I can see where 120 mpg is possible.
    In some states an ultralight car is classified as a motorcycle if it weighs 999 lbs or less. It would not have to meet federal safety standards for cars.

  19. The math is simple...convert 100 kilometers to miles (62.13) and convert liters to gallons (1 gallon = 3.785 liters) then they state .89 liters/100Km. So... 235 MPG.

    No one seems to be working on turbine powered cars since Chrysler gave it up. The exhaust was a problem...not to mention, where do you take it to get it worked on? I am an A&P aircraft mechanic, and turbines are WAY diferent than piston engines.

    I doubt that anyone is working on 2 stroke engines...they would never pass emmissions...hence California has banned the sale of new ones.

    Jommy, good point about the motorcycle classification. That would be great if they could get them into the US that way!

  20. WOW!!! Please please please... sell it in California, USA.
    I will buy one for sure! Maybe 2 of them.
    I don't care for diesel, I would prefer either just gas or a hybrid, but I will take it in any form.
    I communte 110 Miles each day. Even my so-called high-mileage car is making me broke.

  21. I support any effort to create a very low mileage car. Obviously, the best way to achieve this objective is to reduce the weight. The price seems a little high. There are some other cars that are on the market in other countries that offer high gas mileage at a reasonable purchase price. Would like to see them available in the US. Let's make it happen!!!

  22. When one works out the cost in 'Hallibertons" per mile, or even American Soldiers per mile, or Iraqis per mile, or Afghans per mile, what does it come to? I like plug-ins, Wind mills, Solar/electric installations in deserts, and even wave, hydro, tidal, and geothermal installations myself, and how about bio-diesel? and I love my neighbor-hood kids, and want to see them grow up at home, with good educations, good jobs, and good American lives, all provided by a good government, not blown out the exhaust pipes of the new V-8 Cameros, Corvettes, Cadillacs with their enormous Arab Prince pleasing gasoline engines, their OPEC bribed horsepower, and their threat to my carbon fibered ultra light non-flesh burning "Bubble-cars" on the road!America! Get your head out of your ass long enough to smell reality and see the light! Turkmenistan oil fields are next! China claims them now! Do we want this fight? Can we possibly win it? Is Electric and bio-diesel a better answer?

  23. I just love it when I read "lets ditch the oil companies and go with an all electric drive system". Where do you think the other end of your lead cord gets its power from? Some ultra clean source? Right now its still the burning of fossil fuels that puts out the bulk of the power consumed. And its not going to change anytime soon. Yes wind and solar are trying to make take a hold on the market and I hope they do, but with trillions of tons of coal available here, and oil still flowing, don't expect the "barrons" to give up willingly...Until they can find another way of profiting. Lets just see what can actually be produced and what is "allowed in"... And as a side point, isn't it interesting that all these incredible concepts are being developed overseas...And only start ups like Aptera are even trying to make this real...Not one of the "Little Three" are showing any interest...

  24. for those of us who only have to get from point a to b, this would be fine. my first 20 mi. driving is horses and farms. we're 50-60 mi. r/t each day. I say, sure. But the oil corps. will kill it I,m sure.

  25. Can you/or ? tell me where production is slated to be. Where is "prototype" production located, Germany?
    Thank you, dr al.

  26. This car will fly, too ...as I drive through the Golden Gate Bridge...
    How they are going to protect it from cross-winds is unclear to me. But if they do, I am a buyer.

  27. I think VW is headed the wrong way. The L 1 Concept car started as a simple, 1 cylinder, high mileage commuter vehicle that would provide efficient transportation. VW should remember their roots with the beetle, a car most people could afford. Forget the hybrid, twin cylinder electromotive model for $41,000 bucks. America needs a model T for the future. The L1 should be mechanically simple with VW's reputation for quality engineering and it should arrive on the market at an entry level price. Watch the showrooms fill up with the former middleclass Americans looking for survival transportation. What good does limited production, high cost vehicles do for the average person? How many people are going to run off and by a new Chevy Volt for $45,000 bucks?

  28. i'm depressed... this should cost about 660pounds xD

  29. I am very interested, I own a 2003 TDI now an am looking forward to this new VW. Where and When can I get one.

  30. This absurdly small vehicle is part of the long standing campaign to have you accept a continually diminished life and reduced expectations. This will continue until you are content with a cot in a government barracks and eating gruel 3 times a day. The level of personal prosperity and freedom is inversely proportional to the level of socialism.

  31. I totally agree with one commentors post. The greedy oil tycoons have only one objective, make money at any cost. Screw the consumer. When diesel engines became prolific, what happened, the price of diesel fuel sky rocketed. The same thing will happen if this little piglet goes to market. The oil barons will make sure their profits are well protected. If someone passes gas on Wall Street the price of gasoline without justification jumps at the pumps. Boomer.

  32. the concept is acceptable.the upper part design is beautiful and free feeling in VW two-liter model.In my research the weight of the car should not be less than 500 kgs because one man can lift/push 200-300 kgs on wheel easily.Also during speed the air pressure under the car can lift the car according to air dynamism due to lack of weight/gravity.
    The price is too high out of normal reach.Finally the explanation of 1 litre / 100 kms is just a story telling unless using other hybrid supports.
    Finally, I have researched a car engine 300 CC one cylinder incubator air/fuel supply two stroke engine/ v belt variable power transmission and a flat engine direct opposed two cylinder, two connecting rod in one journal two stroke.
    Hope will be useful

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