Eco Goes Off-Road

The outdoors will always be our playground and in order to preserve the we have to adapt as explorers and adventurers, and that includes the 4x4s that get us out there.

The auto industry and specifically makers of 4x4s have taken note of our desire to play in the outdoors while helping to preserve them, offering electric trucks and SUVs.

There are particular types of vehicles you shop for to suit your lifestyle. If you live on a ranch or a more rural area, you will need or use a pick-up truck more often. If you live in the city, sitting in traffic on your highway commutes to work, you are most likely for something smaller and more focused on fuel efficiency. If you are a mountaineer or someone living in Colorado, Kentucky, or any other place known for its mountain ranges, you are looking for 4x4s and lifted bases. But what if I told you that kind of a decision was rapidly becoming a thing of the past?

Emergence of Hybrid

Long before Henry Ford introduced his Model-T in 1912, a Scottish man named Robert Davidson produced the first known electric car. The industry was exploring as many different power sources as possible to nail down the best for both performance and cost. Due to the high cost, low top speed, and short battery life, Davidson's model (and other similar technologies) fell out of popularity for fossil fuels. 

After WWII, when a shortage of fossil fuels caused the industry to scramble again, the electric engines made a short resurgence before once again giving way to fossil fuels. This happened a handful more times over the following decades until the oil prices tanked in the '80s and electric was shelved again. 

Another early technology used in the early development of cars was hybrid power. Most people think of this as being a modern invention, but it was developed by Ferdinand Porsche as far back as 1900, with his Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid. It wasn't until recently, however, that it became a mainstay in the automotive industry.

Breaking the Mold

When it comes to vehicles, off-road and practical are two types that are usually on opposite ends of the spectrum. You can have one or the other, but rarely both, especially if you live in a specialized area. Off-road vehicles are typically big and capable, but they are usually horrible on gas and too big to drive around in the tight spaces of the city. Hybrids are highly fuel-efficient, but until recently, they only seem to be suitable for general commuting. It looks like that's about to change.

Here is a list of some of the best true hybrids you can add to your garage, so you are never without the vehicle you need. 

2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe

Chicago, 1986, was when the off-road world changed forever, and Jeep released the first Jeep Wrangler. It was durable and equipped for some of the world's harshest climates like deserts, forests, and beaches. For the last 25 years, it has remained a mainstay in off-road options. 

In 2021, Jeep endeavored to combine rugged adventurism with eco-friendly features. The industry's first electric hybrid vehicle with the open-air concept has made Jeep one of the most recognizable vehicles on...or off the road today. 

Alpha Super Wolf

Unless you are a gearhead, you may not have heard of Alpha Motor Inc. If you took a motor vehicle company and let tech moguls run it out of Silicone Valley, you would get a slight idea of who these guys are. 

The company's fourth project, the Super wolf, looks like a rugged truck capable of hauling a camper to the depths of the woods or climbing a mountain peak without losing the acceleration of a sports car. 

Land Rover Defender 

Much like Jeep, Land Rover is a company built on rugged outdoorsmanship. This Britsh-based manufacturer showed up in the 1940s, and many say was the blueprint for what Jeep became 40 years later. 

The Defender is their newest version of the off-road vehicle. Using their toughest materials to date and testing it to the furthest lengths, the Defender is precisely what every outdoorsman needs, especially if he also needs to take it grocery shopping in Beverly Hills. 

Rivian R1T

Another relatively new start-up, Rivian came together with the sole purpose of saving the world. No big deal. They endeavor to be carbon neutral and lead the industry to be entirely so by 2028. They are doing this by using life-cycle designs in everything they do. Meaning you can use their batteries in many "second life" applications for a start. 

Their R1T is a truck meant for every possible scenario. From temperatures that range from -25 deg to 130 def...there isn't an environment where this beast won't thrive. Not to mention, Rivian is hard at work building a vast network of charges, so you can always be on the go, no matter how far you get from home. 

Ford F-150 Lightning

When you talk about longevity, you talk about Ford and the beginning of the car manufacturing industry. When you talk about Ford trucks, you talk about the F-150. The constant Best-In-Class winner and the most sold truck of all time, this is the truck that experts and professionals trust. 

Add the Lightning, and you have the toughest and most dependable truck that is also gas-free and over-the-air software updates that keep your truck eco-friendly without compromising any of the rugged toughness you need. 

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