The world's most economical car is being shown to shareholders attending the 42nd annual general meeting of Volkswagen AG in Hamburg. It is a '1-litre' car, that is to say covers 100 kilometres on only this amount of fuel. (concept carz) The prototype, built in conditions of great secrecy despite many claims that such a technological feat was impossible, was driven under its own power from Volkswagen's plant in Wolfsburg to the meeting venue in Hamburg. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, currently Chairman of the Board of Management, drove this research vehicle the whole distance on April 14th. Despite poor weather conditions, the distance was completed at what must surely be a record-breaking fuel consumption figure and is certainly almost unbelievable: only 0.89 litre per 100 kilometres. Once again, Volkswagen has demonstrated its technological leadership in a most impressive way.
The journey started from Volkswagen AG's administrative tower block in Wolfsburg on Sunday morning at 9 a.m., and took place in rainy weather. The chosen route was along the A39 'autobahn' to the junction at Königslutter, then via the A2 and A7 'autobahns' and across the River Elbe bridges to the finishing point at the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten on Hamburg's Binnenalster lake.
This successful run was the deserved reward for many weeks of test driving. Without the slightest fault developing, the experimental vehicle, its body unpainted in order to save weight, and bearing the highly significant number plate 'WOB - L 1', competed the 230 km long journey. Its average speed was 75 km/h and the destination was therefore reached in only three hours. Of the contents of the fuel tank, which holds 6.5 litres, only 2.1 litres were found to have passed through the engine's fuel injection system.
The world's first '1-litre' car licensed for road use resembles a sports car more than a typical research vehicle in appearance. Since the concept calls for a reduced frontal area to minimise exposure to the airstream, the 3.65 m long body is exceptionally narrow and low-built. Developed in the wind tunnel and built entirely from composite carbon-fibre reinforced material, it has a width of only 1.25 m and is just over a metre high. The body is unpainted in order to save weight. The reinforced plastic outer skin conceals a space frame that is not constructed from aluminium but from magnesium, an even lighter metal.
The 'one-litre car' is powered by a single-cylinder diesel engine located in the mid-engined position ahead of the rear axle and combined with an automated direct-shift gearbox. The case and cylinder head are of aluminium, using a monobloc construction principle. A direct-injection, naturally aspirated diesel, with a capacity of 0.3 litre, it develops 6.3 kW (8.5 bhp) at 4000/min and is equipped with an advanced high-pressure pump-injector fuel supply system. Despite these modest figures the car is surprisingly lively thanks to its weight of only 290 kilograms.
The suspension uses light-alloy components and the car runs on 16-inch low-friction tyres optimised to keep rolling resistance to a minimum. The wheels too are made from an extremely light composite material to harmonise perfectly with the ultra-economical power train.
The interior is sporting in style and extremely compact, but provides sufficient space for the driver and one passenger; it is reached by folding back the dome-shaped hinge-up door. The seats are also of extremely lightweight material, with magnesium frames and high-strength but none the less comfortable tensioned woven fabric instead of the classic upholstery.
Although weight-saving construction ods have been applied throughout, safety was none the less given close attention during every phase of the 'one-litre' concept car's development. It has an anti-lock braking system, the ESP electronic stability program and a driver's airbag among its safety features. Deformable elements at the front and the space frame construction provide the same standards of impact and overturning protection as in a GT racing car.
It is the sports-car style concept of the 'one-litre car' that distinguishes it from the spartan research vehicle such as one might have expected: this is a specially designed high-tech vehicle, as demonstrated by many of its features. For a start, the seating arrangement puts the driver and passenger centrally, as in a classic racing car, but one behind the other in tandem. The mid-engined layout puts the power unit transversely behind them, ahead of the rear axle. The lightweight suspension, of complex design, uses double wishbones at the front and a De Dion rear axle layout. In conjunction with the low centre of gravity and low weight, the car steers in a very agile manner.
The project team has thus succeeded most impressively in creating a car with almost incredibly low fuel consumption that also happens to be fun to drive.
The 'one-litre' car has a number of highly practical, almost luxurious details. Únder a separate lid at the rear is an easily accessible load area with a capacity of 80 litres; reversing is aided by a rear-view camera, and automatic locking and releasing of the lift-up door, together with a starter button for the driver, mean that a conventional ignition key is not needed.
Viewed as a vehicle concept - with four wheels, but very low-slung and with two seats in tandem - the 'one-litre' car is perhaps an indication of a totally new family of cars. It could open up new demand areas extending all the way from a 'super-saver' as seen here to a low-cost day-to-day touring vehicle for young people or even a supersport with outstandingly high performance.Source -
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 modern technology.
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 temperament.
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 system.
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.Source - Volkswagen