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Volkswagen One-Liter Car:  

Volkswagen presents the world's first 1-liter car From the VWAG Press Release Last edited: 04.16.02 - 01:00 | Concept At its 42nd Annual Meeting of Stockholders, Volkswagen is once again demonstrating its technical competence by presenting the world's first 1-litre car. Even during the development of the first 3-litre car, which was launched on the market in the summer of 1999 and has since sold more than 22 000 units, the objective was to successfully put the most economical series-production vehicle ever on the market at an acceptable price. This has been accomplished. The 1-litre car is the potentiation of this idea. The objective was to develop a vehicle with a fuel consumption of no more than one litre per 100 kilometres, using all technical possibilities available. The principal point was to show how state-of-the-art technology can be used to reduce fuel consumption and still come up with a safe, usable and roadworthy vehicle. Volkswagen's Research and Development division enthusiastically took up the challenge to design the world's most economical car, and created a ready-to-drive car in just three years. Volkswagen's study is registered for use on public highways, and the journey from Wolfsburg to Hamburg demonstrates that the 1-litre car is technically feasible and offers driving pleasure of a very special kind. Project manager Dr. Thomas Gänsicke: "It really is a fascinating experience to drive through the night at 100 km/h with the fuel consumption indicator showing just 1.0 ltr./100 km, and nothing but the stars above your head." The key objectives in the development were to minimise all driving resistances through lightweight construction and outstanding aerodynamics, and to develop new tyres and running gear components, taking ergonomics, current safety standards and familiar control functions into account. However, the target, a fuel consumption level of one litre per 100 kilometres, meant abandoning conventional vehicle concepts. With a width of just 1.25 metres, the 1-litre car is extraordinarily narrow, the driver and passenger sit in tandem, the transversely installed engine is centrally located in front of the rear axle, the plastic bodywork has the highly aerodynamic shape of a teardrop.

In close cooperation with numerous suppliers, existing components were examined, assessed and modified, and brand new concepts were advanced. This was the case in particular for the wheels/tyres, the starter-alternator, the bodywork and the lighting. The sports-car-like 1-litre car will thus be the technological forerunner of future vehicle generations. Engine Even in the initial concept phase of the 1-litre car, different drive concept simulations showed that diesel was the only real option for the drive system, as only this combustion principle meets the maximum requirements for optimum energy exploitation. Here, the experience of the technical development team that created the three-litre Lupo was of great benefit. However, a 3-cylinder engine was out of the question for a fuel consumption level of just one litre per 100 kilometres. A 2-cylinder engine was also quickly dismissed. The final solution was a one-cylinder naturally-aspirated diesel engine with a displacement of just 0.3 litres. The direct injection diesel engine makes use of the most efficient injection system available today: a unit injection element with 6-hole jet and pre-injection. It provides a high working pressure of 2,000 bar. The one-cylinder SDI engine in the 1-litre car is not a mere derivative of the familiar engines, but is rather a completely new, technically highly sophisticated development. Two overhead camshafts actuate roller rocker fingers which in turn actuate three valves, two inlet valves and one exhaust outlet valve. These are then fed from the engine through a titanium exhaust system with reduced backpressure. The two overhead camshafts are driven by a strengthened toothed belt. The engine is an aluminium monobloc construction. That means that the cylinder head and crankcase of the compression-ignition engine are cast as a single piece. But that is not the end of the lightweight construction, for also here, all technically feasible stops have been pulled. The fuel pump housing is made of magnesium. The trapezoidal connecting rod is made of particle-reinforced titanium. The success of these measures becomes evident on the scales: dry (i.e. without operating fluids like oil and water), the engine weighs in at an unbelievably light 26 kilograms. Ready for operation, including the starter-alternator, it is just 12 kilograms more. Besides the reduction in weight, various measures were taken inside the engine to optimise fuel consumption.

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  • To minimise frictional resistance, the running area of the cylinder has been laser alloyed, roller rocker fingers reduce friction in the valve drive, even the tension of the piston rings has been reduced. The centrally mounted one-cylinder SDI diesel engine is transversely installed in front of the rear axle, has a displacement of 299 cc and generates its maximum output (6.3 kW / 8.5 bhp) at 4,000 rpm. The maximum torque of 18.4 Newton metres is delivered at 2,000 rpm. Even with this apparently low output and power development, the extremely light vehicle weight (which is comparable to that of an average touring motorcycle) and the excellent aerodynamics (with a drag coefficient of 0.159 - much better that a motorcycle and far better any series production vehicle) provide for a lively performance. For example, the 1-litre car reaches a top speed of 120 km/h. Moreover, Volkswagen's economical wunderkind is suitable for everyday use despite the extremes of its design. And that includes its range. It is not difficult to calculate the range available with the 6.5 litre tank: the two-seater can travel up to 650 kilometres on a single filling. Gearbox Volkswagen 1-litre car - Newly conceived automated direct shift gearbox Starter-alternator, start-stop system and freewheel function help save fuel Six-speed gearbox selects gears sequentially and automatically Due to the small installation space available for the engine-gearbox unit, new approaches were also required in the power transmission system. Here, a compact automated sequential 6-speed gearbox with a specially tuned shift program is used. This optimises power transmission, reducing fuel consumption. It was not possible to simply take a gearbox off the shelf, for once again, the motto was: save weight. And so the gearbox housing is made of magnesium, all gears and shafts are hollow, and bolts are made of titanium. In addition, a special high-lubricity oil ensures the 6-speed gearbox, which weighs a mere 23 kilograms, always runs smoothly. The gearshift mechanism is electro-hydraulically actuated via finely-tuned sensors, eliminating the need for a clutch pedal. There is also no need for a gear lever, for upshifts and downshift are made fully automatically. Here, the best possible engine and gearbox shift points are selected for optimum fuel economy. Gear selection - forwards, reverse or neutral - is made using a turn switch on the right-hand side of the cockpit. More at VWvortex.com
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