The Design Museum in London has opened its latest exhibition, with the new display featuring some unbelievable examples of design nominated as part the venue’s yearly awards ceremony.


Among the innovations in architecture, fashion, furniture and digital, the transport design nominations is represented by none other than the Volkswagen XL1.

Volkswagen XL1 side shot

The world’s most fuel-efficient car was nominated for the exhibition by author and automotive design and technology expert, Andrew Nahum – known for his publication ‘Fifty Cars That Changed The World’.

Volkswagen XL1 boot detail

Ignoring the design features for one moment, lets just take a look at the performance capabilities of the XL1.

According to Volkswagen, just 0.9 litres of fuel will see the car travel for an astonishing 100km, equating to an incredible 313mpg. All this can be done while emitting just 21g/km of CO2.

Volkswagen XL1 door detail

Helping to make this possible is the aerodynamic design and ‘teardrop’ shape, helping to minimise drag. This attention to detail has also seen the wing mirrors removed, in order to further streamline the car. Instead, small cameras – known as e-Mirrors – are attached to the side, which delivers exterior images to interior displays.

Volkswagen XL1 on the road in London

Carbon fibre bodywork helps to keep the weight down significantly, further improving its green credentials.

The two seater diesel-electric hybrid has previously made appearances at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Geneva Motor Show before making its way to the UK capital.

Volkswagen XL1 London Eye

Now it has taken its place in the London exhibition alongside other quality designs, such as ‘friendly’ lamp posts, a build-it-yourself mobile phone, and details of a floating school found in a Nigerian Lagoon.

Visitors to the museum will also be given a way to have their say on what design was their favourite, with two nominations fighting it out daily on social media to be named as the top feature at the exhibition.

Volkswagen XL1 door detail

The Volkswagen XL1 could only look more futuristic if it somehow had a ‘hover’ function. The smooth shape, the covered rear wheels and the opening scissor doors make it seem like it has just been dropped off in London by Back to the Future’s Marty McFly.

Volkswagen XL1

Its exclusivity is only enhanced by the fact it is completely hand-crafted, using small series production processes. Volkswagen has issued an initial run of 250 of the cars before it is considered for a much wider release.

However, if it lives up to the quoted performance figures, it won’t be too long until energy-conscious drivers from up and down the UK are fighting to get their hands on the super efficient vehicle.

Volkswagen XL1 in action

Although it’s obviously not a car to satisfy the desires of adrenaline junkies, that doesn’t mean it can’t perform when it wants to.

The XL1’s top speed is 160km/h, while a 0-100km time of 12.7 seconds can also be achieved.

The Designs of the Year 2014 exhibition began on March 13th and visitors can attend until it closes on August 25th.


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