A group called the X Foundation is planning to award $10 million to anyone who can design a commercially viable car that can get 100 miles per gallon.
I don’t know exactly what “commercially viable” means in this context. I haven’t seen the rules. But something tells me that the winning car will weigh six pounds and seat one anorexic dwarf. If you put a grape in the trunk, the front wheels will come off the ground. And I have a bad feeling that there will be leg holes in the bottom of the car so you can hike the entire chassis up to your crotch and run.
Don’t get me wrong. I hope the contest is a big success, and I hope the winning auto is the size of a Suburban while still getting 100 mpg. But it won’t happen. Contestants will game the system. I predict that the winning car will eventually be totaled by a front-end collision with a bumble bee. The bee will suffer a sprain.
Every time I see a hybrid car on the road I experience a weird mixture of love and hate. I love the concept and how it’s good for the environment. I hate that the car company is punishing the well-meaning customer by making him ride in a car that shouts to the world “I HAVE NEVER HAD SEX AND I NEVER WILL!”
I realize that the shapes of hybrid car are based on aerodynamic efficiency. But I have to ask myself what percentage of the improved gas mileage is directly due to the car being shaped like a whale’s penis? Wouldn’t it make more sense to design the car to be 2% less energy efficient, 100% more attractive, and thereby sell 300% more of them? Are these car makers even trying?
I don’t know if economists have ever calculated the extra gas savings from hybrid cars that accrue from making it impossible for their owners to procreate, but the savings have to be huge. There’s no need for hybrid car owners to drive to dates, or to drive kids to soccer games. If you drive a hybrid, my friend, your genes are waving the white flag.
Yeah, yeah, I know that Leonardo DiCaprio drives a hybrid, and he’s sleeping with supermodels. But I guarantee that they make him wear condoms. Probably two or three at a time. And I’ve yet to see a paparazzi get a picture of both Leonardo AND a supermodel going on a date in a Prius. If a supermodel gets photographed in a Prius, her next assignment is pointing at rugs in the JC Penney catalog.
I’m generally not one to subscribe to conspiracy theories. But I think it’s obvious that if the oil companies wanted the car companies to make fuel-efficient cars that also looked good, it would have happened by now. If the X Foundation contest ends up designing a car that gets 100 mpg, the car company that buys the patents will produce a car that looks like a cancerous spleen. And they’ll name it something like the Toyota Nonads.
God, I hope I’m wrong about this.