VW to Speed Production of Ultra-Efficient Mini-Car

November 25, 2008
U.K.'s Autocar reports that VW is speeding a small, Smart-size two-seat minicar to market. They claim that "in its most economical form," the little vee-dub will return 141 mpg, emit less than 60 g/kg of CO2, and rely on nothing but good old internal combustion.

How does VW plan to stretch the four-cycle internal combustion engine to heretofore unimaginable heights of efficiency? Small engines (both gas and diesel are reported to displace 1.2 liters), excellent aerodynamics, stop-start tech, and very low rolling resistance tires, that's how.

The gas version uses four tiny cylinders, direct injection, and cylinder de-activation (running on two cylinders at light load). The diesel is a three-cylinder, common-rail design to be introduced in next year's VW Polo.

The VW Mini-Car, said to compete with Toyota's upcoming iQ and the Smart fortwo, is based on a modified VW Up! chassis with improved aerodynamics. The vehicle should seat two and have modest room for luggage. They say that the new mini-car will be dubbed the VW Chico ("little" en espanol), borrowing a name used for a VW concept car displayed back in 1991.--Colin Mathews

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