Earth Day has been a national and international day to raise consciousness about the environment for 46 years.
A lot has changed in public perception about man’s effect on the climate since it began in 1970. There is increasing scientific consensus that we are having a negative impact, and it is also easier to see today with melting polar ice caps and other signs of trouble. This is a good time for everyone to consider what they can do personally to combat climate change. The biggest impact most people are likely to make on the environment is how they get around in their daily lives. The cars we drive are a leading polluter in the modern world. At the end of their life, they can be recycled, and they have gotten better over the past few decades with stricter mileage standards, but some vehicles are still noticeably better than others for that daily commute to minimize ones personal carbon footprint.
Hybrid cars have been increasing in popularity over the past decade, and more pure electric cars are hitting the market now. They are no longer just for those who are willing to sacrifice acceleration or other niceties of traditional gasoline powered cars to feel good about themselves. Many models today have plenty of get up and go when hitting that accelerator pedal. There are also electric vehicles for any budget.
Excellent Cars for Those on a Budget and on a Mission to Help the Planet
For people who either don’t have a lot to spend on a car or only need it for a short commute, there are good budget options. The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Coupe and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV do not cost more than many traditional gasoline powered cars and are still peppy enough to get someone out of a potentially hazardous situation. With a range between 60 to 70 miles for both cars, they are definitely for an urban environment where every place their driver needs to go is nearby. They are both pretty small, but the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Coupe is very tiny with only two seats, so this should be a consideration before purchasing it. That said, nothing would beat the Smart for getting into the tightest of parking spaces.
Environmentally Friendly Options for Those Who Need a Little More Range
The Chevrolet Spark EV drives farther off a charge than the aforementioned cars with an 82 mile range limit, and it is among the most affordable electric vehicles and has a 0-60 mph time of 7.2 seconds. The Nissan Leaf stands out from many of its competitors by having a fairly impressive distance between charging of 84 miles with its standard battery. However, it offers an upgrade from the 24 kWh battery to a 30 kWh one that increases this to 107 miles. This makes it decent for day trips with the family with its four door design.
Nicer Car Options for the Earth Day Crowd
While it will be a while before there are as many higher end choices in the electric vehicle car segment as there are in the gasoline-powered market, people with more money to spend will be glad to know they currently have some fairly refined options from which to choose. When anyone thinks of high-end vehicles, BMW is one of the first companies to come to mind. The BMW i3 BEV, or battery electric vehicle, is an impressive offering with an 81 mile range, and changes with next year’s model are expected to increase this into the neighborhood of 120 miles. When speaking of electric vehicles that have their driving range measured in three digit numbers, one should point out that this is where Tesla Motors is king. They are some of the pricier electric cars out there, but you get what you pay for. Their Model X is a stylish crossover that is very quick compared to just about any SUV out there. The Tesla Model S may be this company’s first electric vehicle, but if the reviews it’s garnered are any indication, they hit a home run right from the outset with this one. This stylish and quick sedan has a wide range of battery pack options. Where Tesla really sets the bar above all competitors is that both of these fully electric vehicles have a range of about 250 miles. Their new Model 3 will be released in 2017, and it is expected to bring this impressive type of range down to the $35,000 price point, which is about half that of the Models S and X.
It’s Easier Than Ever to Avoid Hurting the Environment
People who want to both drive a nice car and not hurt the environment while doing so can rejoice. There are far more choices today than there were just a few years ago, and this will only improve over time. In addition to the aforementioned Tesla Model 3, the Chevy Bolt is expected to come out in late 2016. It will have a range of at least 200 miles and come in at a starting price a few thousand dollars under Tesla’s Model 3. One car at a time, environmentally conscious consumers are changing the environment for the better. This, together with the fact that most new power plant construction is from renewable energies, may mean that someday the need for an Earth Day may be a thing of the past.