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Volkswagen's GEN.TRAVEL Concept Vehicle, with Modular Interior


VW GEN.TRAVEL Concept Proves: Car Companies HATE Trains

It’s a common enough joke on the EV forums: Elon Musk hates trains. Musk hates trains so much, in fact, that he supposedly put forward the Hyperloop project specifically to disrupt a high-speed rail project in California, all in a bid to sell more cars. Well, it seems that the Tesla CEO Technoking is in good company among his fellow carmakers — and the new VW GEN.TRAVEL concept fairly proves it.

Anything But Trains

“Volkswagen defines the mobility for generations to come – sustainable and digital,” says Dr. Nikolai Ardey, Head of Volkswagen Group Innovation, who says the concept is meant to replace “short haul flights,” like this 9-minute flight Elon Musk took last summer. “In the group-wide Volkswagen Innovation Research department, we are further advancing this idea, showing how our customers will be able to experience mobility in the future – for example, as a service. With GEN.TRAVEL, we can already experience today what will be possible in the near future with innovative technology. Door-to-door travel at a new level. Emission-free and stress-free.”

It seems absolutely shocking, to me, that Volkswagen would put a concept like this forward — but concept cars have a long history of silliness. And, as silly concepts go, this one doesn’t seem as silly as some others. As such, I’m inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt. That said, this self-driving software superstar has something of the vibe of VW Group’s previous CEO about it, and it’s hard to imagine a “drivers’ car” guy like ex-Porsche head Oliver Blume giving this thing the OK, even as a concept.

As a wonky, far-off into the future looking concept, then, there are certainly worse ways to spend the five hour drive between Cleveland and Chicago, for example, than in a cushy reclining seat while your GEN.TRAVEL gets you from A to B. And, if that robotaxi future we keep getting promised comes to pass, we might get to see for ourselves! “The GEN.TRAVEL offers us a glimpse of the travel of the future,” explains Klaus Zyciora, Head of Volkswagen Group Design. “It shows us what autonomous driving will look like in the future. The GEN.TRAVEL embodies the visionary design of beyond tomorrow for the mobility of tomorrow. Efficient shaping characterizes the extremely distinctive design. Thus, in an age of technical perfection and virtually unlimited possibilities, ‘form follows function’ becomes ‘form follows freedom.’ The automobile will not only be better, but also more exciting than ever before.”

Good enough. As for me, I think I’d rather have a train.

Amtrak Observation Car Walkthrough

Source | Images: Volkswagen Group.

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I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.


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