Tesla and Volkswagen

A couple days ago, Elon Musk unveiled the new Tesla Model X.

Needless to say, I am VERY impressed.  I used to be a hatchback-only person, but as of late, I’m really starting to see the appeal and utility of trucks.  Although this Model X is not a truck, it definitely has some of the utility of a truck without the negatives of a truck (mainly bad fuel efficiency).

The Model X can pull a 5,000 lb trailer, to boot.  I mean, come on.  Just incredible.

With the introduction of the Model X, the success of the Model S (all-electric sedan), and the introduction of the Power Wall, it just really looks like Tesla (and Elon Musk, at the helm) are aiming to change the way the world uses and stores energy.

Some people have written off the Power Wall already, stating that there are better solutions out there, and this is only a marketing scheme – but isn’t it a great one?  It’s getting batteries in front of the eyes of people who would not have otherwise seen them, and perhaps now more people will want to add a solar / battery component to their homes.

Volkswagen

I had a Mk4 VW Golf Diesel, and I absolutely loved it.  When we had our previous TDI (a newer one), our mechanic said that we should sell it and get a Mk4 (older), because they are the most indestructible cars you can buy.  We bought one and put at least 20k miles on it, and we loved it.

It was easy to work on, it got great fuel efficiency (~40mpg average), and it was very comfortable.  I do quite a bit of work to keep the vehicles I own in tip-top shape, but this car was comfortable even beyond what I did to make it great.

The Scandal

VW Diesel Dupe Scandal

As it turns out, VW has programmed their “clean diesel” cars (since 2009) to cheat on emissions tests.  When not being tested, these cars are emitting up to 40 times the allowed amount of nitrogen oxide into the air.

Almost half a million cars in the US have been found to have this cheat installed, and that doesn’t even count other countries where VW’s are sold.  This is possibly the biggest scandal in the auto industry EVER.

The thing that has me so upset about this (beyond the fact that a major auto maker is contributing HEAVILY to non-necessary pollution), is that if you take a look in the discussion thread on the TDI-Club forums, you’ll read multiple accounts of VW TDI owners stating they will NOT take their vehicles in to be flashed with non-cheating software!

These diesel drivers specifically DO NOT CARE about the excess NOx in the air, and they value their cars’ performance over the health and well-being of other HUMANS.  This just blows my mind.

Juxtaposition

We have Tesla, aiming to make the world a cleaner place; and then we have VW and it’s fanbase making the world an INCREDIBLY dirtier place, and being just fine with it.

I don’t have the solution for instantly cleaning up the environment, but companies like Tesla are putting us on the right track.  Companies like VW are absolutely taking us down the wrong path.  The fact that some people are perfectly fine with what they’ve done completely baffles me, and I will never understand it.

Yes, getting 50+ mpg and having 180hp to play with is fun; however, possibly shortening other people’s lives in doing so is not fun, nor should it be acceptable by anyone with objective moral values.

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When Tesla’s drop down into an attainable price range, I’d very much like to own one.  After owning two VW’s in my life, I thought I would be a lifelong VW fan, but now, I’m not so sure.

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