Why did Volkswagen choose to unveil its ultra-frugal XL1 concept in Qatar, a nation with rich petroleum reserves? The answer, it seems may comprise with a single word: technology.
Early last year, Volkswagen and Porsche entered into a partnership with the Qatari government, allowing the automakers to further study new materials, production strategies, fuel economy optimization, and eventually open a VW materials test lab.
That last point is directly tied to the XL1. The majority of VW’s efforts in Qatar will be tied to developing and refining carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs), which are extensively used in the XL1 design to keep weight down. The concept’s design not only uses a monocoque structure composed of the composite, but also uses the material to craft every exterior body panel, along with the suspension’s anti-roll bars.
The investment -- along with the XL1’s presence at the Middle Eastern motor show -- shows VW is ready to invest further into the region, believing it can become a leader in developing future fuel efficiency technologies. Although VW has yet to officially set up shop in Qatar, the XL1’s debut venue is seen as proof that VW is entirely serious about this venture, and expects to reap eye-opening efficiency gains from ideas nurtured within the country.