September 17, 2009
VW Diesel Hybrid Gets 170 MPG

Volkswagen has developed a concept car that will get 170 miles per gallon. It probably wouldn't pass current US safety standards. But it would probably be safer than a motorcycle.

Volkswagen is redefining the automobile with the L1, a bullet-shaped diesel hybrid that weighs less than 900 pounds, gets an amazing 170 mpg and might see production within four years.

The L1 concept car unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show pushes the boundaries of vehicle design and draws more inspiration from gliders than conventional automobiles.

In the United States 95% of energy used for transportation comes from oil. The approach of Peak Oil poses a big problem for our lifestyles and living standards. But since our current cars are so big we have plenty of room for downshifting into smaller and more efficient vehicles.

When oil production starts dropping every year cutting industrial uses of oil will prove more problematic than cutting personal transportation uses. Why? There's more room for improved efficiency in personal uses of oil than in commercial uses because industry places higher importance on efficiency already. Industry uses trucks and trains that are much closer to max efficiency than personal cars. Decisions in industry are driven more by cost and less desire for status or comfort. So, for example, trucks have far less room to increase efficiency than cars do.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 September 17 11:32 PM  Energy Transportation

Fat Man said at September 18, 2009 6:01 AM:

Like does that thing come with a chiropracter?

If that is the future, I am walking.

odograph said at September 18, 2009 7:05 AM:

That's funny. Engadget had a side-view that looked much more normal. Ah well, diesel-hybrid tandems are probably in our future. Our far future.

Thras said at September 18, 2009 7:11 AM:

If everyone drove one of these, safety would be less of a concern. Until then, I'm driving an SUV -- safer than a car unless you're drunk or under 18.

odograph said at September 19, 2009 7:18 AM:

Actually Thras, things like Toyota Carmy's are safer than SUVs. Design matters. Check the safety-star ratings, or the deaths-per-million-miles statistics before you buy.

You know, when you buy a car that "feels" safe, you get a car that "feels safe."

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