Once upon a time, only celebrities and hard-core environmentalists bought so-called “green” vehicles. That has started to change though, as fuel-efficient technology gets more economical. But what are the chances that your friends and neighbours will have the latest green tech parked in their driveways this year? We took a look at current offerings and rank their probability of adoption:
Once confined to university engineering competitions, solar-powered vehicles are inching closer to the consumer market. In 2015, Ford unveiled the C-max solar energi concept car. The hybrid has high-efficiency solar panels on the roof, which, in combination with a sun-magnifying carport, take seven hours to power the vehicle for about 34 kilometres. An onboard gasoline engine increases the vehicle’s range to 1,000 kilometres. But are Albertans willing to wait seven hours for a charge? Or spend extra for an acrylic carport? Likely not.
Adoption probability: There’s a slim-to-zero chance of seeing solar-powered vehicles on Alberta roads anytime soon.
2015 marked the launch of the aluminum Ford F-150. The pickup is 15 percent (318 kilograms) lighter than previous models. “If you reduce the weight of a vehicle, you don’t burn as much fuel to get it moving, so then you can have a smaller engine,” says AMA policy analyst Scott Wilson. While automakers such as Jaguar, Land Rover and Audi have used aluminum frames for years, “this is the first time that a manufacturer has decided to make such a drastic change to their bestselling and most prominent vehicle,” Wilson says. And if you think this lighter-weight model isn’t as safe or sturdy as previous F-150s, think again: the all-aluminum body pickup qualified as a 2015 IIHS Top Safety Pick during crashworthiness evaluations. In Alberta (a.k.a. F-150 Country), this may just be the aluminum tipping point.
Adoption probability: We’re already there—you pass them on the road every day.
ELECTRIC VEHICLES (EVs)
Electric cars are going farther these days, but far enough for Albertans? The media darling Tesla model S, which rings in at $80,000-plus, can travel up to 480 kilometres on a single charge. (You can now take one for a spin at the new Tesla dealership in Calgary.) Less-expensive EVs eke out a more modest average range of around 100 kilometres, but manufacturers are increasingly investing in electric technology to amp up charge time while driving down prices.
This year, every major auto show in North America featured electric models from nearly all major carmakers. Ford also recently announced a $4.5-billion invest¬ment in its EV division. Over the next five years, the company plans to launch 13 new electric models, including a revamped, 100-percent electric version of the ever-popular Ford Focus.
Just a year ago, EV charging stations were scarce in Alberta. Today, however, Albertans can find more than 50 throughout the province, thanks to major investments in EV infra¬structure. EV stations can currently be found in Edmonton, Calgary, Grand Prairie, Medicine Hat, Fort McMurray and many smaller communities in between. Find one near you at caa.ca/evstations.
Adoption probability: Getting higher every day—they’re not just for celebs anymore!
Don’t forget: Even if you’re not driving a green vehicle, you can still make your fuel go further. Check out the Gas Price Monitor on the AMA app to find the best fuel prices near you.