(from Volkswagen Press Release) At the 42nd Annual
Meeting of Stockholders of Volkswagen AG in Hamburg, the most
economical car in the world is presented: the 1-litre car. The
prototype, which until now has been kept closely under wraps,
and which many people never believed could be built, was
driven under its own power from Wolfsburg to the Annual
Meeting in Hamburg. Before the Annual Meeting, the current
Chairman of the Board of Management, Dr. Ferdinand Piëch,
drove this research vehicle to Hamburg from the company's
headquarters at an average fuel consumption of 0.89 litres per
100 kilometres. This has once against impressively
demonstrated Volkswagen's position at the cutting edge of
The objective of developing a
roadworthy vehicle that consumes just 1.0 litre of fuel per
100 kilometres could not be achieved through compromise. All
existing technical solutions were examined, and in close
cooperation with numerous suppliers, replaced by better, and
principally lighter versions. The result is a vehicle that
looks more like a sports car than a typical research vehicle.
The conceptual necessity for a
small frontal area led to an unusually narrow and very flat
body form being chosen. The body was developed in a wind
tunnel, is 3.47 metres long, but just 1.25 metres wide and
just over a metre in height, and is made completely of carbon
fibre composites. To save weight, it is of course not painted.
The carbon-fibre-reinforced outer skin is tensioned over a
spaceframe that is not made of aluminium, but rather of
magnesium, which is even lighter.
The 1-litre car is powered by a
one-cylinder diesel engine, centrally positioned in front of
the rear axle and combined with an automated direct shift
gearbox. The crankcase and cylinder head of the 0.3-litre
engine are of an aluminium monobloc construction.
The naturally aspirated, direct-injection diesel engine
employs advanced high-pressure unit injection technology to
generate 6.3 kW (8.5 bhp) at 4,000 rpm. This gives the
vehicle, which weights just 290 kg, an astonishingly lively
Fuel consumption is a mere 0.99
litre per 100 kilometres. With a 6.5-litre tank, this gives a
range of some 650 kilometres without refuelling.
Due to the restriction of
space, it was not possible to adapt an existing gearbox. For
this reason, a compact, automated 6-speed gearbox is employed,
which is controlled from a turn switch in the cockpit.
Running gear made of
lightweight alloy, tyres that offer optimised rolling
resistance and 16-inch wheels made of extremely lightweight
composite material perfectly complement the economical drive
The interior is sportingly
simple in design, yet offers enough space for two people, who
can comfortably get in after folding back the turret-like
gullwing door. An extremely lightweight construction has also
been employed for the seats. The seat frames are made of
magnesium, and firm, yet comfortable fabric covers are used
instead of a classic upholstery.
Despite the lightweight
construction of all components, safety has been a major
element in all phases of the development of the 1-litre car.
For example, the concept vehicle's safety equipment includes
anti-lock brakes, ESP electronic stability program and a
driver's airbag. Deformation elements at the front end and the
spaceframe construction provide impact and roll-over
protection comparable to that of a GT racing car.
The sports-car-like design
demonstrates that Volkswagen's 1-litre car is not a spartan
research vehicle, but a high-tech special vehicle. It starts
with the special seating arrangement. The driver and passenger
sit centrally as if in a monoposto, but in tandem. The
mid-engine is installed transversely in front of the rear
axle. With its complex design (double wishbones at front,
DeDion suspension at rear) and combined with the low centre of
gravity and low overall vehicle weight, the lightweight
running gear results in very agile handling.
The project team have
impressively succeeded in combining driving pleasure with a
level of fuel consumption never seen before.
The 1-litre car also
incorporates numerous details of a practical and convenient
nature. For example, there is an easily accessible stowage
compartment with a capacity of 80 litres under a separate flap
in the rear; a reversing camera that helps when manoeuvring;
automatic locking/unlocking of the gullwing door and a starter
button in the cockpit that together allow keyless operation.
The concept of the 1-litre car
- four wheels, low height, with two seats in tandem - gives an
idea for a possible new family of vehicles, which could cover
new requirements ranging from the ultra-economical vehicle,
through the low-lost everyday touring vehicle for young people
to the high-performance sports supercar.