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VW Lupo TDI driving for a record in fuel efficiency

8 July 2000

A Lupo 3L TDI passenger car, advertised by Volkswagen as “the best mileage production car in the world”, has finished the North American part of it’s quest to establish a record for the most fuel-efficient trip around the world.

The Volkswagen Lupo’s “Around the World in 80 Days” tour began on 16 May 2000 in Berlin, Germany. From there, the Lupo has been driven through parts of South Africa, Asia, Australia, and North America. Its trek is scheduled to end after 80 days on August 3 back in Germany at Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg.

The North America stage of the Lupo’s journey started in San Francisco and continued via Los Angeles and into Mexico City, Dallas, Washington, DC, and New York, from where the car was air-lifted back to Europe to restart its road trip in London, setting its sites in North Africa, Spain, France, North Europe and finally, Germany.

If completed as scheduled, the Lupo’s expedition will traverse the globe over 20,712 road miles in 80 days, an idea based on the book by Jules Verne, “Around the World in 80 Days.” The planned fuel consumption for this test is just 264 gallons, or an average of 78.7 miles per gallon (2.99 l/100 km). If successful, it will set a record for the least fuel used for a car traveling around the globe.

At the time the car reached Washington, DC, after driving 12,116 miles from Berlin, the cumulative average fuel usage was 95.2 mpg (2.47 l/100 km).

The Lupo 3L, 3-cylinder TDI uses a Turbo Direct Injection diesel engine of 1.2 liters displacement, which produces 61 horsepower and 103.25 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm. The Lupo 3L TDI was introduced last year in Europe, becoming the first production car being able to travel 100 kilometers (62 miles) on just 3 liters (0.79 gallons) of fuel.

The engine also uses a turbocharger with variable blade geometry, a charge-air intercooler and various friction-reducing designs that have increased the efficiency of this engine to more than 40%, a record value for a passenger car.

The Lupo also features an automated direct-shift gearbox with a stop-and-start function. This transmission offers the choice of automatic shifting or clutch-free manual gear changes. In the Economy mode, the engine automatically switches off when the car comes to a standstill with the brakes applied and then instantly restarts when the accelerator is depressed. Additionally, the clutch is disengaged when the accelerator pedal is lifted, so that the Lupo coasts at engine idle speeds, thus saving even more fuel.

Other factors that enable the Lupo’s performance are advanced aerodynamics that result in a low drag coefficient of 0.29 and the use of light-weight materials.

More information about the trip can be found at www.Lupo80days.com.