230 Miles Per Gallon…from a VW?!

May 8, 2008 – 11:51 am by Matt Radel
Filed under Concepts

EcoGeek reports that VW will be selling the L1 concept by 2010.

So how much is the price of gas really killing you? For something that could get up to 230 miles per gallon, would you ditch two seats and storage space? How about having the single passenger sit behind the driver?

VW certainly hopes you will, as they claim they will begin production of the L1 concept in 2010.

VW L1 Concept

Consumers will have to give up more than passengers and storage space though, as the car is expected to reach a maximum speed of 75 miles per hour. You may go far, but you won’t get there in any kind of a hurry.

But while many might mock the ‘lil L1, I actually find it fascinating. This is a unique effort to make an extremely specialized car, something that would be great for short range travel that notches (significantly) above a motorcycle. They’re practically creating a new market segment. If you live 20-30 miles from work, this would be a fantastic solution that saves both money and emissions. I wouldn’t be surprised if the L1 receives a very warm welcome in the U.S. market, especially if the green movement continues to gain strength. There could be a ton of neo-hippies rockin’ this thing. The catch, of course, would be cost and safety. If they price it correctly (say in the 7-9k range) VW could sell a ton of these.

Of course we’ll have to wait less than 2 years (isn’t that crazy?!) until 2010 to see for sure. What about you VB faithful? Would you rock one of these?

Matt Radel

230 Miles Per Gallon…from a VW?!
May 8, 2008 – 11:51 am by Matt Radel

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30 Responses to “230 Miles Per Gallon…from a VW?!”

  1. This car would Immediately take on the position as my daily driver!! I for one am really excited about this. Im really curious to see the specs on this car but im sure we will be waiting atleast another year for that to be released.

    By James D on May 9, 2008 | Reply
  2. Ya, I would black market my left kidney (or right) to be first in line for one. I do not believe this will make it to market for a long time.

    I just finished posting the PR from 2002 which includes all details about the 1-litre. Considering the times today, it was six years ago and would be ripe for a launch but the 1-litre is made on a magnesium frame and carbon fiber shell. It weighs in at 678lbs. There is your efficiency as well as $$$$$.

    I believe the engineering from this might play a role in say an up!

    Here’s the links. You can download the official PR in PDF too.
    Volkswagen presents the world’s first 1-litre car

    Volkswagen 1-litre car: Condensed high-tech perfection

  3. Haha – is it a roller skate, or a spare-car for my Golf?

    It’s a nice little thing, but I doubt it’d do any good here in the States. Too small, too practical (maybe?), and safety features (or lack there of) are going to restrain the 1L from the States. It also looks too low to the ground to be legalized in the States. Looks like it’ll get stuck going over a speed bump, and I don’t think it’ll be safe for the highway. Can you imagine driving this thing next to an 18-Wheeler? I know I’d need clean shorts afterwards.

  4. I’d like to see more on this. It looks real good for a commuter car, obviously not a family car. It kind of looks like a fighter jet, which is a big plus in my book :) I’ve seen alot of criticism elsewhere on its size (or lack thereof). Do people make the same negative comments about new motorcycles? They can only carry two people and aren’t exactly known for winning head-on collisions with 18 wheelers.

    I’d like to know why all of these great fuel-efficient cars are always a few years down the pike. L1-2010, Volt-2010, Loremo-2010, plug-in hybrids-2010, you name it, if it is being hyped as a car to help break our addiction to the pump it is always a “few years” away from selling. I think recent oil prices show that we need them now!

    By frederic henry on May 12, 2008 | Reply
  5. To tell you the truth I own a Dodge Ram 1500 lifted 4X4 and I want one of those little cars now! Gas is killing me and my company. Our counrty deff needs to bring out these VW yesterday. I agree that 2010 is to far. Im sure there will be higher rules and regulations before these cars are released and if our country becomes full of these small cars then we deff have to make some rules and regulations for these 18 wheelers, we will have to drive along.

    By Nicholas James on May 16, 2008 | Reply
  6. I want one, for most of my driving and running around is ideal and for pleasure we always can tow it behind the Harley just in case, maybe even go in the tour pack.

    By Mike Sapp on May 16, 2008 | Reply
  7. Are you kidding? I’d buy one of these in a hot second. I keep constant watch for developments like this, just waiting for them to get it right, and THIS would be right for me. I never have passengers and everything I could possible want to carry would fit in the passenger seat behind the driver. Maybe I’m weird but I actually like the design a lot.

    I know quite a few people just like me too. If they bring this to the market for a low price, yes, they’ll sell every unit they can possibly manufacture.

    Have you checked the prices of used 3-cyl Geos from the early 1990′s recently? Geos I could have bought two years ago for $1,200 are selling on eBay for $5,000. There’s a clue there for VW. ;)

  8. To the naysayers: whats your boggle?
    Its unfortunate that so many are so resistant to change…particularly when said change is essentially inevitable, for-the-good of all, and desperately needed.
    Too small?…for who?
    The Cooper with its bells and whistles “started” the downsizing. The “bare bones” Smart_fortwo is selling at a brisk pace around the world with its litany of passive safety features and scores VERY high on crash tests…but still only gets 40/45 mpg.
    So where would the biggest resistance for a 200 mpg vehicle truly come from?…could it be the oil/gas companies?…D’oh!
    While no one expects these tiny vehicles to replace the needed “family sedan”, one only has to look on ANY road in the USA to witness the HUGE number of vehicles with only one passenger.
    If VW incorporates similar safety features as the Smart_fortwo, its performance/quality isnt Yugoish, AND its sticker price remains very competitive..I would expect demand to out weigh supply.
    [Of course this assumes the oil/gas companies dont bury it first like they did the electric car [EV1] of the ’90s]
    Happy driving!

    By frank d on May 16, 2008 | Reply
  9. Matt Radel

    Wow – I’m thrilled there’s so much positive feedback for this! Thanks for the comments everyone!

    I’m really hoping that VW doesn’t retract on this one and brings it in 2010 as promised (remember, we’re almost into the 2009 model year). I think they have a great opportunity to crack into what will be a very hot market AND help the good ‘ol American consumer get some relief at the pump.

    By Matt Radel on May 16, 2008 | Reply
  10. Tell me about it. You know how far I have to commute everyday, Matt. I wish I was downtown like you! I just paid $4.19 for gas on Wednesday. :/ I’d rock something more economical right away, or just work from home =D

  11. The car may be a little small, but if we are to make it in the future common sense tells me to look out for this car! If I’m a teenager I would sya no, but if you’re married you better make some changes to get this one! Can’t wait for it!

  12. I drive a 1969 Type III, first year automatic. I love my old VW, but if I want her to last, then she has to become a Sunday driver. By 2010, I will be ready to retire my Type III and the L1 would be a perfect replacement. And, 75 MPH would be crazy fast for me… the top speed I’ll drive my Type III is 50 MPH.

    By Collin Ferguson on May 19, 2008 | Reply
  13. Are you kidding me? With a top speed of 75, it is a bit of a safety hazard. But on the same note how many accidents are you planning on getting in? Just drive safely. This thing is BRILLIANT!. With the prices of gas being so high, for those people that have a huge commute or even just a lengthy commute. I would buy one of these things in a flat second. Yes, they are a bit small. I have four kids so I would obviously have to have a secondary family car. But for just me, which is quite an often commute for me since I pretty much only go to work. This thing is freakin awesome. I would kill to get gas mileage like that. I hope the states do find a way to make it legal. Because this would make life so much easier for a lot of people. And maybe it will cut down on accidents since people can only go so fast. You never know. :)

    By Alexis on May 22, 2008 | Reply
  14. It’s the wave of the future. Let’s all get on , and ride it.

    No, but seriously,We need to think about pursueing avenues of interest for the whole world, our childrens world. Europe is already use to it, and the majority of the people drive small cars over there. SUVs are draining the main vein of our world, and Less is more guys. Bottom line, the majority of people need a car like this, and I believe the other people should be taxed on driving big cars, and sucking up all that oil. How selfish?

    By pete kostan on May 23, 2008 | Reply
  15. This is not a car that can be built on a large scale. It is all exotic expensive materials usually used in cars costing 1/2 million dollars. so sad, I’d buy this in a heartbeat if it was affordable.

    By aiiee on May 23, 2008 | Reply
  16. The costs involved in building this car are in no way different from any other on the road now. Due to its light weight it will cost that much less. The low power does not mean poor acceleration but rather good gas mileage and very tolerable acceleration. My Geo Metro gets 48 mpg and accelerates tremendously fast when pressed yet weighs just 1650 lbs…all of 49 horsepower!…laughter I expect the VW will be 1200 lbs, 40 horsepower and 160 mpg. on average. Easily attainable in today’s technology. GM, Ford and Chrysler could do the same thing but they are cowards when it comes to low priced, low return vehicles.

    By owlafaye on May 27, 2008 | Reply
  17. What concerns me are my neighbors on the highway, it is that person with a big vehicle demonstating road rage.

    It is a question of how to place accountability so it is safe for lightweight cars to achieve what they need to do or is it easier to design separate roadways for lightweights ?

    The idea of 230 mpg is perfect it’s beautiful.

    By Joeb on May 27, 2008 | Reply
  18. Matt Radel

    Eh, folks on the highway don’t stop people from driving motorcycles – which would have to be significantly more dangerous than this guy.

    I think safety is going to be a big factor in the whole smaller/smart car market, and it’s something that people will accept if they’re willing to take the plunge. There are tradeoffs for everything. :)

    By Matt Radel on May 28, 2008 | Reply
  19. I wonder if they will make a diesel/biodiesel version of this vehicle?

    Hey, does anyone want to start a L1 campaign to encourage VW dealers to carry the vehicle and create wait lists for customers?

    How about http://www.L1campaign.org?

    By Collin Ferguson on Jun 23, 2008 | Reply
  20. Matt Radel

    @Collin: Sounds awesome! Though we here at VB are kinda at our limits with work at the moment, but if you get something going we’ll be more than happy to feature it. :)

    By Matt Radel on Jun 23, 2008 | Reply
  21. I’ll get started with an I-petition. The website will come shortly thereafter. But, let’s keep reporting on this L1. Does anyone have more pictures? What resources can we currently view to learn more about the L1?

    By Collin Ferguson on Jul 6, 2008 | Reply
  22. Any New Updates on the L1? I would really like to see this on the streets here in NYC. This would be a great commuter car inside the city. Snall enough to get parking, plus not much emission.

    By NT on Mar 21, 2009 | Reply
  23. Perfect commuter/short haul vehicle!!! What I’d build if I had the capibility! I’d buy one of these in a heartbeat if it was competitively priced. I rarely go beyond 55 mph on the 12 mi. ride to work. Ditch the carbon fiber for fiberglass and the magnesium frame for good ‘ole US steel. Lose the airbag and the anti-locks too, they suck and add $$$’s to the price! This should trim $$$’s off the price tag. Even half the mileage might be OK if the price were appropriate. This beauty isn’t going to compete against semi’s/SUV’s in a crash and neither are motorcycles! I’d opt for a decent radio/CD combo, heat/de-foggers, and oh, the rear-facing 20mm cannon or .50 cal gun option for dealing with the occaisionally marauding semi’s/SUV’s. Single-shot of course. Just tie it into the the back-up camera/targeting curcuit. Please drive DEFENSIVELY, America!


    By Robert Kerber on May 26, 2009 | Reply
  24. I have just talked with someone who is going to try to bring this over to the USA, direct from China. I told them I wanted one of these cars as soon as they can be exported from Shanghai. From every indication at this point, it will only cost me $600 plus whatever freight charges that will be in a group rate. We think the car would be available for shipping sometime by Fall 2009

    By MusicManInSCarolina on Jun 2, 2009 | Reply
  25. I’d love to have one of these for driving to work and long distances. It seems ideal. As for speed, the top speed in most states is 70. If you are a defensive driver, you don’t need to look at higher speeds. It could help you keep the $250 to $500 ticket prices and points off your record for the speeing you are doing now. Commuter car for sure. Long trips? enough for a suitcase in the back is good enough for me. $8.00 to drive to visit relatives instead of $100..I’ll take that any day.

    By Hal on Jun 5, 2009 | Reply
  26. I first saw an article on this car saying the price in Shanghai money was equal to $600.00 US. At that price it would be affordable to fly to Shanghai, buy this car, ship it back to the states and still have money left over for gas and not pay more then $5000.00. When is this car being sold here and for how much? I’m putting in my order

    By Hal on Jun 5, 2009 | Reply
  27. Hey all,

    I started up a Volkswagen L1 Twitter account – @VW_L1_Love and a petition to tell your local VW Dealer to get the L1 on the lot like now, man.

    Follow me and sign the petition! And, spread the word.


    The battery pack itself, rated at 16 kilowatts/hour, comprises more than 220 separate cells wired in series. That means the failure of any one cell disables the entire array, though some existing hybrid vehicles also have this flaw. The Volt pack is about six feet long and weighs a hefty 375 pounds.
    Voltage: 320 – 350 V
    100% recharge time:
    110V outlet: 6 – 6.5 h
    Electromotor: 45kW
    GM also claims the 2011 Chevrolet Volt can run solely on electric power for 40 miles with a full battery charge. That’s in line with studies showing that most Americans drive only about 40 miles a day, so in theory at least, a Volt could go for weeks without using a drop of gas or spewing any CO2. But some analysts think the real-world electric range will be closer to 30 miles and probably less, depending on vehicle speed, ambient temperature (which affects battery performance), and whether trips include steep grades.
    After how many recharge cycles (DAYS) the Battery Pack 16KW/H with 220 separate cells wired in series, weighting 375 pounds, HAS TO BE REPLACED WITH A BRAND NEW ONE?
    If this car will be used as a normal hybrid car:
    If the battery pack is fully charged overnight, the fuel tank filled with gasoline (gasoline pump shuts off) and the car is driven non stop 230 miles:
    Going beyond Hybrid, GM and his rescuers are going down a cliff.

    By bluemonkey on Aug 15, 2009 | Reply
  29. I have the feeling that this car will NEVER be seen in the USA, the oilboys will see to that, don’t you worry. Just look at how the rest of the world measures emissions (tons of CO2 per year) and how the USA measures emissions..percent of total emissions. Thus, we can go on producing Dinosaurs while keeping cars from our markets that would save money and the environment.
    Thats why Pr. Bush did not join the Kyoto accord, to protect our auto industry and their secret, but clearly evident, agreements with the oil companies.
    How are we ever going to fix this. …The states need to pass laws that allow individuals to put engines of their choice into cars, with as little red tape as possible. Then you should see American ingenuity at work and American Auto industry up the creek, together with the oilboys. Thank you for your attention, gotta go, I got some biodiesel ready for filtering, adios.

    By stephan Torak on Dec 18, 2010 | Reply
  30. All I want to do is buy a VW L 1
    Three Wheeled car ?

    By Baumgartner on Apr 13, 2011 | Reply

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