Monday, October 14, 2013

VW Debuts XL1 Plug-in Hybrid

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill electric car.
Volkswagen unveiled the XL1 plug-in hybrid electric, which gets more than 200 miles per gallon, by American standards. Under European standards, the figure is 261 mpg, which the German automaker said makes it “the most fuel-efficient” production car in the world.
On a full electric charge the XL1 is good for up to 32 miles before the diesel engine kicks in. Volkswagen said the car can cover about half a mile on less than 0.1 kilowatt-hours of electricity.
So if you’re looking for efficiency, this could someday be the car for you. But if you’re looking for comfort, that might be another matter. The XL1 is just 3.78 feet tall, making it a foot and a quarter shorter than the VW Beetle.
The car has doors that open up, rather than out, reminiscent of a DeLorean. It’s a two-seater, but unlike earlier versions—in which the passenger sat behind the driver—this time the seats are in the traditional side-by-side appearance.
Volkswagen is expected to produce a limited number of XL1s, possibly as few as 250, and they’re expected to be sold initially only in Europe. While the automaker isn’t discussing a sticker price, automotive experts believe it will be in excess of $120,000.
The XL1 was displayed in the U.S. for the first time Oct. 3 at the convention center in Chattanooga, Tenn., near where Volkswagen has a factory.
Meanwhile, Kia will begin selling an electric car in the U.S. next year.
In an Oct. 1 announcement, the Korean automaker offered very little in the way of details about the electric version of its 2014 Soul model. Kia said details—including the car’s range—will be revealed at an upcoming major U.S. auto show