VW showed their L1 Concept at Frankfurt this year. It’s an updating of a similar design from a few years back. Essentially it’s a 1+1 diesel powered city car-esque design study that will get the greenies all up in a fine lather but will be sort of threatening to old school car guys.
I’m not sure why that is though. There’s long been this perception that gearheads must fight tooth and nail against cars like the Smart or the Prius or, for that matter, the L1 Concept. Because if we don’t, then somehow the big bad evil government will force us to only drive in Smarts with 29 MPH speed limiters while eating tofu and listening to Enya.
It’s a bizarre argument that makes no sense whatsoever when you think about it for more than 6 seconds, but it’s still around. And so are cars like new Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers; big block Mercs that can go from Frankfurt to Darmstadt quicker than a Gulfstream jet and Ferraris that are still the best cars in the world.
Why having a car like an L1 Concept, even if it does make it to the road in some form some day, will somehow force cars like Mustangs, Camaros or Challengers et al off the road is sort of beyond me. American gearheads look at the way Europeans run their transportation systems with something approaching dread. But even in the late 70s and early 80s, when American cars were at their absolute nadir, the Europeans were building OK cars and doing all right.
The same goes for today. A lot of gearheads are rending their garments over crap like higher CAFE standards and having to deal with global warming, yet car people in Europe aren’t. They’re just getting on with the job at hand. Making cars, like the L1 Concept but also making cars like the upcoming Ferrari 458 Italia.
So what’s so wrong with a concept that gets an astonishing 170 mpg, features a carbon fiber/plastic body and weighs just 380 kilograms and has a Cd 0.195, only puts out CO2 emissions of just 36 grams per kilometer and is motivated by a hybrid TDI and 10 kW electric motor powerplant that lets it top out at a speed is 100 mph?
Build the thing.
The more cars like this around, the more room for Ferraris.