Volkswagen “supercar” sparks ignorant online debate

Dan Almasi, Opinion Editor

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Volkswagen recently showcased the third member in their line of groundbreaking “supercars” at a shareholders meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

The Volkswagen XL1, which looks like something out of a futuristic sci-fi film, gets approximately 235 miles per gallon. It’s no racecar, but that’s not exactly the purpose of its design. It goes from zero to 50 in a gradual 32 seconds, it’s noisy, and it has a top speed of just 74.6 mph.

Lead engineer Ferdinand Piëch stated that it would be built “in reasonable numbers,” and will be “affordable.” Popularmechanics.com translates that to meaning that somewhere around two to three thousand XL1s will be produced. Caranddriver.com figures that means more like 250. It’s all speculation, and only about a dozen exist at the moment. They won’t be mass-produced because the model isn’t ideal for generating revenue, seeing as striking the balance between keeping the car affordable and selling a bunch won’t be easy. Most people with the money to buy a car like this aren’t worried about the fuel-efficiency of their vehicle. Most wealthy people will still go for the sporty, quick, and luxurious option rather than a slow, loud, fuel-efficient engineering project.

It isn’t on the market yet, and Volkswagen hasn’t put an actual price tag on it, but rumors range from a projected price tag of $60,000 to $120,000 – that is, if it were to be sold in the US.

Volkswagen has stated that the XL1 will only be made available in Europe.

The website whydontyoutrythis.com posted an article about why it won’t be available in America has gone viral on Facebook and elsewhere. It has stirred a ridiculous and laughable political debate.

The article is titled “Volkswagen’s New 300MPG Car Not Allowed in America Because It Is Too Fuel Efficient.”

The XL1 is technically not currently legal in America because it hasn’t been federally tested to pass fuel emissions and safety standards, and they probably don’t plan to test it either, because it doesn’t make any sense.

Not to mention 235 mpg and 300 mpg are two very different numbers, but when doesn’t the old round up to the nearest hundred rule make sense?

“You won’t find the 300 mpg Volkswagen XL1 in an American showroom,” said the article on whydontyoutrythis.com. “In fact it has even been denied a tour of America because it is too efficient for the American public to be made widely aware of, and oil profits are too high in America with the status quo in place.”

Even if they tested the XL1 and passed it (which would cost millions of dollars in order for a likely few hundred cars to be driven in America), Volkswagen isn’t producing an American version. Let’s remember; the steering wheel is on the OTHER side in Europe, so Volkswagen would have to make an entirely separate American model.

Because, as always, people forget that anyone can post anything they want on the Internet and call it fact, few people have questioned the validity of the statement, and pointless Internet debates have ensued.

Debates about America’s “free-market system” being a total myth and conspiracy theories about American politicians and middle-eastern oil producers being in on a scam against the American people have resulted.

No sources are used whatsoever in the whydontyoutrythis.com article. The writer doesn’t even mention that all of his ideas are purely speculation; he writes the story like he knows these facts as well as the back of his hand, yet his article is likely one of the most-read pieces about a groundbreaking and noteworthy engineering feat. This is exactly why I believe media literacy courses should be a gen-ed requirement at more American colleges.

Email: almasi.record@outlook.com

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