Berlin Resident Becomes First Volkswagen XL1 Owner, Talks EV Sense

This weekend, Volkswagen handed over the keys to the first XL1 hybrid during an event held at the Transparent Factory in Dresden, Germany, where the fuel sipper is made. The most efficient VW ever made now belongs to Dr. Christian Malorny, a Berlin resident who's also the director of McKinsey & Company.
First Volkswagen XL1 14 photos
Photo: Volkswagen
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Upon taking delivery of his Titan White car with Pear White interior, Dr. Malorny said the following: “The XL1 has inspired me from the beginning and I am very pleased to be driving my own from now on. With its visionary design and high-tech appearance, Volkswagen has dared something new and innovative."

Being the Berlin head of Bereich Automobil, the XL1 owner is actually well connected to the automotive world. And because he also owns the Karmann-Ghia and a Messerschmitt KR200 bubble car, we'd label Dr. Malorny a car connoisseur as well. Considering he's payed somewhere around €110,000 for a Volkswagen, he is also extremely committed to eco mobility.

Let's see what he's bought! The XL1 is a diesel plug-in hybrid that combines a 0.8-liter two-cylinder TDI engine making 48 PS with an electric motor delivering an additional 27 PS (20 kW). Everything is set out via a 7-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission. Because the vehicle is made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, it only weighs 795 kg (1,752 lbs). This also helps it achieve an amazing fuel economy rating of 0.9 l/100 km (261.3 mpg US).

How do you feel about the dynamic age of the automobile to date?

Extremely positive. For the customer, there was never so much automotive diversity, performance and functionality for so little money.

What are the current and future trends in this environment?

Courageous car concepts that combine driving fun and efficiency, Premium technical innovations and fresh design, better mobility concepts, new retail / aftersales / service concepts.

What is your forecast for e-mobility? What opportunities are there?

E-mobility will work in the next 15 years only on the premium lever. Covetousness, differentiation, and social acceptance are the attributes to rely on. Although the concept is easy, putting an electric drive in an existing car with no visible external differentiation is unlikely to work. And the volume market for pure electric cars will come only with progress being made in energy density, recharging time and more battery life. That is, unless regulations force people to take action, using measures such as prohibition of the use of internal combustion engines in the inner city areas.

What development has helped the electric car to reach the current level of popularity?

At the moment, we're dealing with a pure curiosity of people due to excellent press relations (hype). We are still far from the series ability for rational buyers, who make up about 60% of the Germans and 80% of the European market. The iPhone shows that, even in seemingly saturated mobile markets, new relationships can be created with the help of technological revolutions. It's the same in the automotive sector, with people that are open to new answers.

What implications will this have on the industry?

This means huge investments and average increase in vehicle costs of €1900, what is not clear is if the customer is willing to play extra.

How important are innovative drive concepts in the cities of tomorrow?

Very important. Where we need to distinguish between cities in mature markets and in emerging countries. The buying behavior is completely different. Regulations by the policy makers could potentially play the main role of the change.

What excites you about the XL1?

The courage to dare, something new and innovative (technology, design). Differentiating design, high-tech appearance, VW solidity - that's it. This car shows off the VW brand extremely well. It would be nice to see a lot more innovative and bold cars from VW Group in the future, in particular by Audi.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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