With all the talk about the superior performance of the Tesla Model S, it’s easy to forget that most electric cars aren’t quite as swift. But what the Wolkswagen XL1 lacks in speed and acceleration, it makes up in fuel efficiency. The plug-in hybrid was tested at 340mpg, but the officials in charge of the test imposed a rounding error, from 0.83L/100km to 0.9L/100km (not sure why), bringing the official mileage to 314mpg. That’s still decent enough to travel 300 miles on $1.5 of electricity and $4.5 of diesel, at European energy prices. That works out to $6 for 300 miles with the XL1, versus $13.68 with the Model S.
Of course, there are some drawbacks. The diesel engine develops 48bhp, the e-motor 27bhp, which means that acceleration is crap, taking 12.7 seconds to get to 60mph. And if you keep going past that, you’ll top out at 100mph. And to make things really bad, you can’t really take advantage of the super mileage, because the gas tank is only 10L. Of course, you can still travel long distances by refuelling along the way, and you’ll still get 141mpg that way, the only inconvenience being that you have to stop every 300 miles. But we’re not sure where we sit on this one. Wolkswagen isn’t planning on mass production anyway, so obviously nor does VW. There’s no official price, and the talk is that 50 will be made, with maybe more if there’s demand. So it’s a wait and see.