Arnold Kling  

Too Virtual to be True

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Glenn Reynolds pointed to this blog post, which says that


an inflatable electric car could be only $2500 in price and available starting in 2010-2011.

The link takes you to a site for something called XP Vehicles. It lists no street address, no corporate executives or board members, no tangible presence whatsoever.

If you search for them on the Web, you get several blog mentions. I'm surprised that they have gotten anyone to take them seriously. The probability that it is a hoax is greater than .99, if you ask me.


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CATEGORIES: Business Economics



COMMENTS (6 to date)
Matt writes:

We can easily produce an electric car for less than $2,000. I can make them in my backyard, they are so simple.

The problem is that the easily built electric car is about 750 pounds in weight and cannot be used on the roads without concrete barriers to protect the driver.

Dan Weber writes:

Assuming the cost was 100% batteries, that would be a range of 25 miles with current technology.

A car you can pack into your briefcase, George Jetson style, would really help public transportation. The biggest hassle of taking the train into town is that I have to take the train out of town.

Ben writes:

Whether it should be taken seriously and whether it's a hoax are two different questions. The domain registration information traces back to a California inventor with a WIPO patent related to "personal flight vehicles". Far-fetched, silly, or asinine, but I'm not convinced it's a hoax. Just run a whois search on the various XP Car domain names.

aaron writes:

Yes, I think wind resistance would quite the limiting factor.

Dan Weber writes:

Yes, I think wind resistance would quite the limiting factor.

Has anyone ever considered building special tunnels for cars? They have reduced air pressure and/or fans blowing air strongly in one direction, say at 20MPH. This significantly raises the speed at which cars can travel before losing efficiency from wind.

I have no idea if this has been studied before or is a stupid idea. Just tossing it out there.

TMLutas writes:

I'd give it something greater than 0.1% chance that it's the car equivalent of the "fabless" chip manufacturers. Creating something at a low burn rate is a laudable business strategy and companies remain virtual for as long as possible these days. But in this particular case I'm also dubious based on other clues.

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