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Gas mileage has always been one of the biggest factors drivers consider before purchasing a new car. It became even more important when gas prices were climbing up to $4 a gallon or more. While gas prices have mellowed out a little bit, the trend toward high-mileage vehicles has taken on an even more important mantle — as an icon for green energy. Who’s leading the charge in the world of high-mileage vehicles, and what new technologies do we have to look forward to in the coming years?
Tesla Taking on Long-Range Shipping
Tesla and its CEO, Elon Musk, have already made some of the longest-range electric cars on the market, and their supercharger network is extensive enough now that you can actually drive an electric car from one side of the country to the other with only a few extra hours of charging added on. Musk’s next trick? Taking on long-range shipping by hinting at an all-electric semi truck.
There aren’t a lot of details available about this truck yet — the full reveal is scheduled for Oct. 26. From what Musk has said, Tesla has been working with major trucking companies and may already have some partners lined up who are chomping at the bit to get their hands on some of these new electric beasts.
Electric trucks could take a huge bite out of the millions of barrels of fuel big fleet trucks consume each year. In 2013, it was estimated that semi trucks in the United States alone consumed 2.7 million barrels of fuel every single day, and emitted roughly 12 percent of the entire country’s carbon dioxide for the year.
Chevy Volt Nearing Half a Million Miles
Batteries don’t have the best reputation for longevity — we’ve all probably had to replace a cell phone or laptop battery at some point because it would no longer hold a charge. What about the rechargeable batteries in electric cars? If the Chevy Volt is any indicator of the industry as a whole, you don’t have to worry. A 2012 Volt nicknamed “Ol’ Sparkie” has logged more than 400,000 miles on a single battery.
Now, the 2012 isn’t a true electric car — this particular model year was a gas/electric hybrid, with only about a 30- to 50-mile range on battery only. It’s only rated for 38 miles of all-electric per charge, but some drivers have managed to stretch that to nearly 60 miles.
Tesla Made for the Long Haul
One more little tidbit about Tesla — these cars are made to last. How many cars have you had that have run, and run well, beyond 200,000 miles?
Some early Model S cars are swiftly exceeding those marks and still running beautifully — many are reaching 250,000 and 300,000 miles without any sign of wear or breaking down. With examples like these, it’s possible we’re finally starting to move out of the era of planned obsolescence and back into a manufacturing era where things are built to last again — much better for our wallets and the environment.
Cars are among the largest producers of greenhouse gases in the world. This new trend toward greener, more eco-friendly cars is the first step in reducing our overall impact on the planet by reducing the number of gas burners on the road and replacing them with green electric or hybrid engines.