300 MPG Volkswagen. Is diesel-electric the wave of the future?

It sounds like this particular model won’t be practical for most people, but maybe 100 or 200 mpg family cars are possible.

Someone who can afford this machine will not want it. I strongly believe that people buy as much horsepower as they can afford. A car that is $50,000 and takes over 11 seconds to 60 mph is just not going to sell. Also driving habits will need to change. I’m sure if you pound on the throttle hard enough on that car and drive like an ******* you can get that mileage way down, which is how most people will drive a car that is so underpowered.

The tires are another problem. The ultra skinny tires of this vehicle, are probably rock hard and filled to the brim with air pressure. That helps with rolling resistance but will make it a very rough ride. A good car needs wider tires with softer compound which will decrease efficiency. A softer suspension will help but wont compensate for bad tires.

Tipping the scales at 1792 lb is great but as soon as you add heavy Americans and all their crap, it will really hurt acceleration and fuel economy. If you want a family sedan a larger engine will be mandatory just to get it up to speed and you will need to make it heavier.

For crash test purposes I don’t know if a car like that would make it in America. Have you seen the G-whiz? That car is a battery, a motor and a metal tissue box, and that is legal in London. Their standards are really low if they let that in the streets.

Using the technology of the VW will make cars better in the future. Carbon-fiber and wind tunnel testing to design cars will help a lot. Typically wind tunnel testing and carbon-fiber were reserved for cars that were not interested in MPG but for performance and were getting over-sized gas guzzling engines anyway. I like the idea of removing the side mirrors and using TV’s. Perhaps these ideas will make a better family sedan but not one at 100 mpg that you would want to own.


If it could get the funding.

Like I said, it’s not practical but could lead to something better.

Also, just because you strongly believe something doesn’t make it true. I buy for efficiency, cost, and practicality. Lots of people do. I only need the horsepower necessary to safely merge onto a highway.

You are right. If I may, I would like to correct myself. I now strongly believe that people will buy as much horsepower as they can to a point. If I may guess I would say that the point would be for a car that will get from 0-60 mph of no slower than 8 seconds. I believe that is a fairly accurate statement. That would probably be the lower limit for merging safely on the highway.

Of course people will buy much faster cars than that but, if you are considering efficiency, cost and practicality then the above point I mentioned is valid.

Just so you know I hate cars, even though I am a car mechanic. I only ride motorcycles, even in the snow. Studded tires are a god send.

You can easily trade hp for distance with a larger electrical motor. A 100 hp engine with a 6 speed transmission would work just fine for the limited requirements of merging. If it gets 150 mpg and can be sold for less money than today’s hybrids then it’s a viable car.

it will become practical/attractive when the cost of fuel rises enough to make it so.

How long are the slip lanes on US highways? My first car had a 1.2 L engine, and I never had any problems getting up to speed to merge. Lorrys accelerate very slowly compared to cars, and they manage it every day.

I think this car will have a big market (when refined a bit). It certainly is much more practial than the Tesla.

There are plenty of expensive vehicles (SUV’s) that do not achieve 8 seconds to 60mph. The Toyota Prius isn’t exactly a cheap car (granted, its not 50k either) and it has sold well…and its not doing 0-60 anywhere near 8 seconds…more like 10. Heck, my Scion Xa gets 40mpg out of a 103 hp engine with a manual tranny…and its 0-60 time is abysmal but I can merge onto freeways just fine.

You ride motorcycles in the snow? That’s extremely dangerous and foolish, even with studded tires. Not to mention cold!

I live in Los Angeles now which has longer entry ramps but I used to live on Long Island where SOME of the entry ramps to the parkways were literally about 3 car lengths long. It is pretty common to see people waiting at the entrance ramp. It is pretty scary merging onto the parkway when you have an underpowered car, and sometimes very dangerous. They do cause several accidents, especially when people refuse to give you space.

Just to clarify when I say they are 3 car lengths, they are longer so you can get up to speed but you usually can not see the parkway traffic until you are literally about 3 car lengths from the parkway. Sometimes your view is obstructed by trees or bushes or the entrance is a long circle, which does not allow you to look at the traffic. If you want some specific ones its pretty clear on Google Maps, that I can show you.

As for riding in the snow, its not that bad. Its like riding on the mud, you just need to go slower. Needless to say when I lived in NY I had a truck but here in Palmdale, CA where it snows a few inches a few times a year I do not even own a car. I have a sportbike for nice days and a dual purpose with studded tires for dirt biking and the occasional snow. I only work a few miles from home anyway.

Possibly, but the car will cost 50-60k USD. So even if gas goes up to $5/gallon in the US it is going to be hard to justify that kind of cost. The kinds of people who have to worry about paying $5/gallon for gas can’t afford a 50k car (plus since it is a new model the bugs haven’t been worked out, so repair/maintenace costs are going to be higher). So the biggest incentive it has to offer (high mpg) is irrelevant to anyone who can afford to buy it.

I don’t see how this car can be anything other than a status symbol among the eco-friendly professional class. The market to be a mass produced automobile probably isn’t there.

Part of the problem is the fuel. Besides a dirty past reputation and inconveniences finding a filling station. Diesel is just stinky as it is, and unlike gasoline, odor of spills linger, and not what most people want to deal with.

Diesel does have power benefits over gas, though the engine is usually heaver. More energy energy per gallon and more efficiency due to higher compression but the fuel is more expensive. There is some work on a gasoline burning engine that can switch from the standard 4 stroke otto cycle to a diesel (compression ignition) cycle achieving higher efficiencies.

Hybrid use of diesel vs gas really changes things, and will more so if the IC engine is linked only to a generator, not to the drive wheels and the IC engine can run at the most efficient rpm’s.

ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel isn’t as bad.

Europe is full of diesel powered cars, modern engines are pretty good. Is it really that difficult to find a diesel pump in America? Where do the commercial vehicles fill up? And how often do you accidently spill fuel anyway?

Yes, that’s true. Bear in mind though, that mpg does not equate directly to carbon emissions. Burning a litre of diesel releases more CO2 than burning a litre of petrol.

The XL1 is too expensive to be viable right now, but a few years down the line hybrids may start to make financial sense. Looking at the UK, driving a 40 mpg car 10,000 miles costs about £1,500 in fuel. Fueling an XL1 would cost about £200. Over the lifetime of a car that recoups much of the high purchase price. Bear in mind, part of the reason the XL1 is so expensive is because it will have a small production run (assuming they do actually go ahead with building it).

10 or 20 years down the road, I do think petrol-electric and diesel-electric hybrids will be fairly common.

I’d say less than half of the filling stations by me (metro Detroit) sell diesel. It’s more available closer to the interstates.

the “dribble” after each person fills builds up over time, and diesel doesn’t evaporate mostly away like gasoline does. after a while the area around the diesel pump can be an oil slick. back in the day I had a diesel Ram pickup, and one incident I had because of this was scary. it was wet and slushy out, I just got done filling up, and after I started the truck and put it in gear the oil and water on my shoe led to my foot slipping off of the clutch pedal. and unlike a gas engine, it didn’t stall, but shot backwards. fortunately there was nothing (and nobody) behind me.

In my experience virtually every filling station has had at least one diesel pump. However I live in a rural area with lots of farms, so the market is likely different than what you’d find in an inner city.

I’ve never noticed this, I’ll take a look the next time I fill up. Most pumps over here have nozzles for petrol and diesel.

I have a definite weakness for horsepower. But the scale tips toward practicality/earth-conscience at about 40 mpg.

I’ve never driven a diesel but I have noticed that when I fill a gas tank a drop or two often falls out of the nozzle when I remove it from the tank. I even try to shake out the last few drops before I remove it to avoid this, but that doesn’t prevent it. So it’s easy for me to believe that the same would be true of diesel and, if diesel doesn’t evaporate as easily then I’d imagine it would build up.

I’d imagine that there might be some way to avoid or at least lessen this. I wonder whether or not the environmental impact of this would be offset by the decreased impact that would come from burning much less.

Another thought; could any of the technologies used in this car be used to drastically increase the mileage of gasoline hybrids? I suspect not, at least not by much.

Another point is that, at least in my understanding, diesel engines are much more versatile as to what fuel they’ll burn. Could something like this vehicle run on some kind of renewable fuel?