Volkswagen Introduces New Vortex Vehicle

May 20, 2002 by Jeff Shepard

At its 42nd annual meeting of stockholders, Volkswagen AG (Germany) presented the world's first 1-litre car, the Vortex, which can travel at a top speed of 120km/h for up to 650km on a single filling of its 6.5 litre tank.

With a width of just 1.25m, the 1-litre car is very narrow; the driver and passenger sit in tandem, the transversely installed engine is located in front of the rear axle, and the plastic bodywork has the aerodynamic shape of a teardrop. The one-cylinder, naturally aspirated, diesel engine features a displacement of just 0.3 litres. The direct-injection diesel engine makes use of a unit injection element with six-hole jets and pre-injection. It provides a working pressure of 2,000 bar.

A starter-alternator is used to generate energy, and when the driver depresses the magnesium brake pedal, the braking energy is fed into the alternator and thus recovered. Energy storage is via a nickel-metal hydride battery. The on-board network is designed in CAN-Bus technology.