18 September 2009
18 September 2009
The Frankfurt Motor Show saw the unveiling of Volkswagen’s L1 Concept car – a diesel-electric hybrid vehicle constructed from aluminium and carbon fibre.
Weighing just 380 kg, the car is capable of a maximum speed of 99mph. Its fuel-economy figures suggest that when running at optimal speed the car can achieve 189 mpg on the combined cycle while emitting just 39 g/km of CO2.
The L1’s body has been designed to maximise aerodynamics, but despite its light weight (124kg) the car gains a lot of strength due to its use of carbon fibre reinforced plastic.
At 3,813 mm in length, the L1 Concept is comparable to the VW Fox, yet at just 1,143 mm in height it’s as low as a Lamborghini Murcielago. Its width, at just 1,200 mm, is narrower than any conventional car on sale today.
Every element of the L1 Concept has been designed with the intention of maximum efficiency. At its heart is a tiny 800 cc two-cylinder common rail, direct injection TDI engine. In ‘ECO’ mode the engine develops 27 PS at 4,000 rpm, in ‘Sport’ mode this rises to 29 PS and 74 lbs ft of torque developed at 1,900 rpm.
The modest kerb weight of the L1 Concept linked to efficient aerodynamics mean that it is capable of accelerating to 62 mph from rest in 14.3 seconds before reaching a top speed of 99 mph. Despite having only a 10-litre fuel tank the L1 Concept’s incredible efficiency means that it is capable of travelling 416 miles between stops.
The L1 Concept draws inspiration from the original 1-litre car, unveiled in April 2002 when Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, then Chairman of the Board of Management, drove the concept between Wolfsburg and Hamburg. At that time productionising the carbon fibre reinforced plastic body was simply not viable. With modern production processes, large-scale manufacture of such structures is now possible.
The sister ship of the renowned passenger ferry Vision of the Fjords takes sustainability one step further. A catamaran constructed from carbon fibre composite that runs entirely on batteries, Future of the Fjords will offer sightseeing with a minimum of environmental impact.
Thai Flight Training (TFT), a subsidiary of Thai Airways, recently ordered an Airbus A320 door trainer from Spatial Composite Solutions.
NTPT is collaborating with the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne - Swiss Centre of Technology (EPFL) and other partners to research discontinuous fibre composite tubes for high performance applications.