When Volkswagen unveiled the XL1 last year to a mixed response, there was plenty to take note of: Its incredible aerodynamics, astonishingly lightweight construction, surprisingly extreme dimensions (‘Shorter than a Polo, lower than a Porsche Boxter’, according to VW), and bizarre retro-futuristic styling (rear hood covers and gull wing doors bringing to mind the best and worst of 80s supercars).
The two things which stood out the most, however, were the incredible fuel mileage of 100km per litre, and the equally extreme price of about $169,000, higher than most luxury cars,and almost at supercar-levels of expensive.
Most people were quick to point out that the kind of people willing to spend more than 150 grand on a car were most likely not those looking for economical gas mileage, others speculated on how much fuel you could buy with that much money.
Indeed, if you were to take that money, buy a Hyundai Accent (which gets around 6L/100km), you would have enough money left over to drive almost 2 million kilometres!
Of course, the XL1 is more of a symbolic venture by VW; an indicator of future possibilities - and in that sense it’s pretty exciting. So we at Carzoos decided to crunch some numbers and see just how much of a difference a mileage of 1L/100KM would make to our lives.
We took a selection of six road cars and put them up against the XL1, from the popular, gaz-guzzling Holden Commodore, to the car voted the most economical in Australia; the Suzuki Alto. Here’s what we found:
Even the ultra-cheap fuel costs of the Prius seem huge compared to the miniscule appetite of the XL1. After only 50,000km of driving they’re almost 4 times that of Volkswagen’s hybrid.
The popular Corolla fares badly too. Over the course of ten years driving the Corolla costs $9000 more in fuel alone than the XL1. As one of the best selling cars in Australia in 2013, if everyone who bought the Corolla could have bought an XL1 (at the same price tag), a massive $170,000,000 would have been saved in Australia, in just 5 years!
To get a bit more perspective on just how incredible the achievement is, imagine you’re in Melbourne and you have a full tank of gas (60L). The Commodore will drop you in Canberra, the Mazda 3 would carry you to Newcastle-Maitland, and the Prius would drop you within 200 miles of the Gold Coast.
The XL1 would carry you from Melbourne to Perth… and then back to Adelaide!
Whatever you think of the XL1’s styling, price, or practicality, it’s a landmark achievement that looks very promising for the future of motoring. Let’s hope that the principles are taken up by other manufacturers so that soon we can all be enjoying long-distance driving holidays, and more money to spend when we get there!
The following statistics use an average of 10,000km driven per year, and use an average of $1.50 per litre of fuel.