Volkswagen to power up new hybrids from 2013

Volkswagen is planning to begin production of plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2013, the company's chairman has announced.

Following in the footsteps of hybrid pioneer Toyota, Volkswagen said that it too would begin production of plug-in hybrids, which use both a gasoline engine and electric motor but can be recharged at home, in 2013.

It plans to build a range of models, through 2013 and 2014, to ease the transition to fully electric vehicles, VW boss Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn outlined.

"Over the mid-term, the plug-in hybrid offers great potential, because it combines the best of two worlds in one vehicle," he said, "the plug-in hybrid offers precisely what many customers expect: unlimited internal combustion engine performance combined with attractive electric mobility ranges in everyday driving."

One of the vehicles destined for production is the XL1, a powerful two-seater concept originally shown at the Qatar Motor Show in January.

Boasting a carbon fiber frame and the world's most efficient powertrain, the vehicle manages the milestone mark of under 1l/100km fuel consumption - 0.9l/100km to be precise.

It can manage up to 35 km in all-electric mode and offers emissions of just 24g/km using the 35 kW 2.0-liter TDI engine and 20 kW electric motor.

A limited number of the vehicles will be produced from 2013, according to reports, with 100 being made for the European, US and Chinese markets, although no details have been confirmed on pricing - or whether the vehicle will retain its striking gullwing doors.