Morgan Pritchett
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Car of the Future: The Volkswagen Beetle?

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Zenon VW Volkswagen Beetle Aunt Judy Weird License Plate

You get a VW Beetle! YOU get a VW Beetle! EVERYONE gets a VW Beetle! (in the future)

As a stereotypical 90s kid, I am constantly plagued by nostalgia and therefore find myself watching classic Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs) in my spare time. My most recent trip to the past included an excursion to the future. The film Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, starring Kirsten Storms as Zenon Karr, was filled with ridiculous dialogue (Lunarious major!) and a variety of futuristic gadgets and technology. While watching the stellar DCOM, set in the year 2049 (just 32 years from now), I noticed something peculiar – on Earth, almost everyone was driving Volkswagen Beetles!

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At first I thought it was just Zenon’s quirky aunt Judy who was driving a bright yellow Bug to pick up Zenon during her punishment on Earth, but I quickly realized there were many more VW Beetles cruising the streets. Not only did practically everyone drive the vehicle, all of these Beetles were solar powered too, as I noticed when the camera panned to a “solar vehicle recharging port.”

Zenon VW Volkswagen Beetle Solar Recharging Port

The camera pans to this solar vehicle recharging port as Zenon begrudgingly makes her way to her Aunt Judy’s VW Beetle

Now, when it comes to strictly solar-powered vehicles, there have been a few manufacturers that have been testing things out with concepts but no major brands have rolled out a market-ready production vehicle just yet. But with growing costs of other resources and the increasing value of solar and wind energy, could we see these solar vehicles (and charging ports) soon?

Related: These VW warranties are impressing just about everyone

Only time will tell if we will eventually get completely solar-powered vehicles by the year 2049. For now, we’ll have to stick with our collection of available electric, fuel-cell, and hybrid options. But who knows, maybe by 2049, we’ll also have self-driving technology in solar-powered vehicles, just like in Zenon!

Zenon VW Volkswagen Beetle Self Driving Solar Powered Car

According to the film, all you need is an ignition code, departure and destination points, and the VW Beetle is programmed to do everything else!


Bonus content major!

Also worth asking, did Mazda garner its original inspiration for its “Zoom-Zoom” tagline (first used by the automaker in 2000) from Microbe’s hit “Supernova Girl,” featured in the 1999 film? The world may never know but I’ll leave the music video for you to enjoy below.

Morgan currently resides in Dayton, Ohio, after living across the entire nation (seven different states, to be exact) and even in Germany for a few years. Originally a graphic design major, Morgan floated around and eventually found her calling in writing and editing after working in marketing for a few years. Her hobbies include: board games, knowing way too many song lyrics, playing video games, quoting pop culture, going to concerts, and watching sports. It is advisable to not give her coffee after 3pm. See more articles by Morgan.