Volkswagen XL 1: A Top Gear?


A few days ago, “Top Gear” presenter Jeremy Clarkson had angered the Ambassador of Mexico in London. Jeremy, as usual, had made a few eyebrow-raising remarks about cars. This time, he had referred the Mexican-made VW Beetle as “lazy and slow”, just like the country itself.

I wonder, what would the German Ambassador think if he saw Jeremy referring German-made cars as “dull, but efficient and safe”? Still, I don’t think this one is in accordance to his description of a typical German car. This VW (still, ironically, a VW) XL 1 is not your average German car. It does not look dull. And, even better, it is EV. I am sure it is fuel-efficient, which fits the current demand for green energy.

If Jeremy is going to drive this electric car, what would his reaction be? Would he still be saying that German-made cars are “dull, but efficient and safe”? Bare in mind, Germany is not the Germany that we use to know. I use to remember the German national football team during the Euro 96 semi-final when England lost the penalty to them at the then-twin-towered Wembley Stadium (Klinsmann was their star skipper at that time), the tabloid British press still thought that Germany played a very dull football. Well, they did at that time, but that was 14 years back. Now, they have a more creative, more exciting and a more multi-national football team, which can play in different style and tactics. I guess the changes in Germany has in a way changed the way the German auto industries think about how they design the next generation vehicles, especially the EV. EV, in accordance to the style of XL 1, does not have to be small, and dull. It can be stylish, and trendy. How can we resist this future-generation EV?

So what are the Brits waiting for? The Obama Administration has already made the pledge to put more effort in research and development in green energy after their State of the Union. What’s David Cameron/Nick Clegg’s pledge? Is it about time that we can combine the Honda plant in Swindon and Nissan plant in Sunderland into one big EV research and development base? Surely, the current Con Dem coalition wants to get everyone back to work, they can make an effort in bringing back the talented British graduates to turn them into the economic driving force? So far, I have not seen any sign.

What would Jeremy say about this? Would he describe the British-made cars as “Cheshire Cats”? It is there, but, it is not there yet.