3 times Volkswagen did something revolutionary
VW are greater pioneers than we may initially think
When someone mentions the brand 'Volkswagen', the average person automatically thinks of boring family cars owned by everyone and their dog. But what they are forgetting is the many times VW has been revolutionary – and it's more times than you think.
The word 'revolution' is defined in the dictionary as being 'any sudden or grand change'. These aren't often things which you'd associate with Volkswagen, but here are three times they proved the cynics wrong.
While, for some people, the Beetle bears a lot of shame, most people see it as a defining moment in automotive history. It was a car that changed the world forever in more ways than it initially intended to. The Beetle was first created by Ferdinand Porsche (under Hitler's command) during the second world war as a way to create an affordable car for German workers.
Porsche's mission was simple. He had to design and make a simple, economical vehicle for the people – and he succeeded. Between 1949 and the end of its production in 2003, the original Beetle made Volkswagen a lot of money – selling over 21 million units.
It may not have been the first German car ever made, in fact, it was far from it, but it was the beginning of the 'people's car' in Europe and helped to put Germany on Ford's radar as valid rivals.
Ultimate economy and good looks don't often walk hand in hand. If you look back at some of the world's most economical vehicles, you will notice a trend – they are all ugly... except for this one.
The Volkswagen XL1 is a car that made economical driving cool. It was a thing that made people realise you didn't have to drive a boring hatchback or estate in order to reduce the number of times you fuel up.
Powering the XL1 is a two-cylinder, mid-mounted 800cc diesel engine producing 50hp alongside an electric motor that adds an extra 27hp. This set-up allowed Volkswagen to squeeze a staggering (quoted) 313mpg out of the XL1 – a figure only diesel lovers could dream of.
It wasn't a quick car or a particularly practical car, but it was one that could outlast most other vehicles on the road and looked good while doing so. However, seeing one on the road is very unlikely because only 250 units were ever made at around £80,000 a piece.
Before you start angrily typing your hatred for EVs in the comments, hear me out. The VW ID.3 is a car that has literally flipped the company on its head and is paving the way for its future as an electric car company.
The ID.3 is the first dedicated EV Volkswagen has made, sharing no parts with other vehicles from its current range. When the time eventually comes, the ID.3 will take over from the Golf as being the brand's flagship family car and that is no bad thing.
It has been engineered in such a way that makes it almost future proof. Being a first-generation car, it has room to grow but will also remain relevant in years to come as more and more people move away from the Golf and onto this. I am not trying to totally disregard the Golf, but it is beginning to become outdated and the latest mk8 GTI hasn't been as well-received as previous generations.
The ID.3 marks a new beginning for VW and is a way to turn over a new leaf and move away from its diesel-gated past which rests so heavily on its emissions-cheating shoulders.