Last year, the Obama Administration finalized the strictest automobile fuel-efficiency standards in the country's history, and Volkswagen's new hybrid vehicle is already prepared to laugh them off.
The German car manufacturer announced the Volkswagen XL1 on Monday, Feb. 25, a vehicle that the company claims can drive 261 miles on a single gallon of gas. New government regulations mandate that cars can get at least 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
Needless to say, the XL1 rips past those numbers. The electric-diesel fuel hybrids can travel around 31 miles on an electric battery alone, while draining a full gas tank can move the car more than 310 miles, giving the car the magic 261 mpg number. The XL1's stats blow away its nearest competitor, the Scion iQ electric, which can get 38 miles on a full charge.
What's more, engineers spent a lot of time making the car as light and aerodynamic as possible in order to reduce drag. The whole thing only weighs 1,752 pounds, which is 50 percent less than a normal midsize sedan.
According to Yahoo News, though, significant sacrifices were made to get the car's efficiency so high, meaning that it's probably not the best choice for most drivers. Its engine performance isn't great when it comes to speed, as the engine hits 60 miles per hour in 12.7 seconds, and Volkswagen even suggests that should be avoided. The car's maximum speed tops out at 99 miles per hour.
On top of engine performance issues, the car isn't the roomiest vehicle on the market. The trunk space is minimal, and the car is a two-seater that sports nothing behind those seats. Whatever (and whomever) you can't fit on the passenger side isn't going to make the trip.
There's been no word on price yet, which is arguably the most important thing. Considering that Volkswagen is only going to produce about 1,000 cars, and that they all have to be custom-built by hand, chances are good that the car is going to be very expensive. As impressive as its fuel efficient engine is, the vehicle has clearly not been made with mass consumption in mind. Still, the fact that it's gone from concept car to reality in just a few years bodes well for the future.
Maybe Obama's efficiency standards for 2025 aren't strict enough.