By Kristen Shilton |
When it comes to the continuing expansion of the hybrid car market, one question that continually seems to linger among consumers is, “Do these vehicles really do enough to help the environment that they’re worth the extra cost over a gas-powered car?”
Ford seems to have found an answer, and it is a resounding “Yes.”
The Detroit-based manufacturer recently discovered its plug-in hybrid vehicles actually rack up enough electric-only miles every day to drive around the Earth eight times. Overall the vehicles drive about 203,000 miles each day and more than 8,400 miles each hour.
While already impressive numbers on their own, Ford maintains they will only continue to improve, as data suggests driving habits evolve for new hybrid owners through the use of MyFord Mobile, the device tracking a car’s total mileage. After six months, Ford reports nearly 30 percent of all trips are gas-free, compared with only 20 percent at the beginning of vehicle ownership.
Driving habits are evolving as the vehicles themselves evolve. The more real-time customer data Ford can collect through MyFord Mobile, the more adjustments they can make that improves the experience for customers and gives them more confidence in the car. The app, which allows drivers to link up with their cars via an embedded wireless network, shows Ford exactly how customers are using their car and how the vehicle is performing in the real world. Because they can acquire this information, as opposed to using a computer program to extrapolate possible results, it gives Ford a firm foundation upon which to make helpful adjustments and increase the environmental impact their cars can have.
Statistics they have compiled so far indicate hybrid drivers are using the cars the way Ford intended them to, in that they drive most of their trips during the week using electricity only, and call upon their hybrid engine during longer weekend trips. To the automaker, that information confirms, “When the right infrastructure and right product come together, it can lead to a strong, positive impact on the planet,” per Mike Tinskey, Ford global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure.
With the statistics they’ve compiled, Ford has committed to creating even more charging stations in more locations so drivers can continue to optimize their driving experience. Currently, Ford estimates the average driver can go four trips between charges and charges their car approximately six times per week.
So, if Ford’s figures are an indication of what most or all hybrid cars are producing, the impact the alternate technology is having on the environment is certainly positive, and well worth the greater investment in a vehicle.