London, September 2025 : A Modern Motorist Writes
It’s now 10 years since the revelations regarding the erstwhile car producer, Volkswagen, came to light. Initially, industry experts predicted that it would be a large storm, but one that would soon subside. In the thinking of a previous decade, VW was seen as ‘too big to fail’ and it was assumed that, suitably chastised, the motor industry would soon revert to its established ways.
Voices outside the motor industry differed. Some predicted this would be the chance when the outsiders, the IT based companies who had been applying their version of blue sky thinking to the motor car, would jump in. Prime among these were Tesla, who had developed the most credible long-range electric car, and Google, who had been working on the driverless car. Both companies had, naturally, attracted the scepticism of the establishment but, equally, the enthusiasm of those not so hidebound.
At first Volkswagen seemed to be doing the right thing to restore credibility, both for itself and the industry. It ate humble pie, allowed certain key employees to fall on their swords and instigated a costly recall programme. But then things began to go awry. Environmental activists began targetting Volkswagen drivers, first passively, then with violence. Doctors reported seeing a new condition, Volkswagen Acquired Guilt and, in extreme cases, this escalated into groups of owners arranging mass burnings of their vehicles – the irony of the effect on the environment being lost on them. Then the new revelations began. It had already been predicted that other manufacturers would be found to have been using emission cheating software, but this went much further.
Peugeot was unmasked as having used laser technology from stealth fighter development, in order to create visual confusion in viewers and convince them that their new designs were far more attractive than they actually were. Once disabled, owners were horrified to see what they had bought.
Sister company Citroen revealed that they had fitted a device that released airborne endorphins into the car interior, which gave the occupants the false impression that they were having fun. Once turned off, few Citroens were seen without sobbing occupants.
Daimler Benz finally admitted to being behind the largest ever case of mass hypnosis which, combined with acoustic embellishment, had convinced owners and spectators that their cars, mostly actually clumsy looking devices powered by 900cc TwinAir engines bought in from Fiat, were powerful and handsome masters of the road.
The revelations continued and, as established player after established player fell, both Tesla and Google began flexing their muscles in the wings. However, it was not to be. Another player, hitherto just a tiny presence on the Internet, had been waiting for this moment, developing a product entirely in secret. Although impressive relative to the other EVs on offer, Tesla’s technology still required a huge infrastructure of power-hungry charging stations. Google’s research into driverless cars was convincing, but there was always going to be the reticence of passengers to commit themselves entirely to a machine.
Known until then only for its hugely influential motoring website, in one stroke DTW stilled these objections with its Go4-IT® Passengerless Car. Freed of the need to carry people, it was small enough to be charged from a USB socket or induction pad. Certain reactionary members of the motoring public were appalled but, for the rest of us, the Go4-IT®’s immediate success is best encapsulated by the original launch campaign with the voice of Sir Ian McKellan intoning “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive; yet it is best not to travel at all”
As we sit in our homes, watching the progress of our Go4-IT® on the wraparound screen, how often do we think of the way it was just a decade ago? At present my Go4-IT® is on a three week touring holiday of Southern Europe. It has visited a selection of tourist spots and scanned them in full 3D from the Go4-IT®’s cameras for transmission to us at home. I’ve hooked up with other owners and their families in full leisure-conference mode and had a great time. There have been no lost passports, no carsick kids, no thefts, no sunburn and no range anxiety. This is the wonderful face of motoring today. We have escaped the dark ages into a world free of traffic jams, fatal accidents and, certainly, those tiresome motoring blogs.
My only concern has been the recent rumours that DTW has inserted software into the Go4-IT®’s system to give the appearance that it is travelling whilst it actually spends its time plugged into a socket a couple of streets down from its normal home. I’m sure this isn’t true and, to prove it, I was intending to go down the road and have a look, but it’s been a couple of years since I was outside the house and I’m not sure I like the idea. Anyway, DTW is a highly respected brand and I’m pretty certain they wouldn’t do something underhand like that. Would they?