We’re used to the idea of our car breaking down and wearing out. It’s a part of life: or at least it has been in the age of fossil fuel driven cars. Even the most well-built cars, like Toyotas, eventually fail and we’re left with no choice but to buy a new one,
But the days of cars breaking down could soon be coming to an end, all thanks to technology. According to a study performed by AutoTrader, there are currently several traditional cars that have proven longevity. These include models like the 1983 Isuzu Rodeo SUV, a vehicle that was massively over-engineered that frequently broke the 250,000-mile barrier. Then there is the Toyota Land Cruiser from 1994, another SUV that topped 330,000 miles.
What’s more, things have improved for traditional cars. According to the Chicago Tribune, most cars rolling off the production line today are built to last 250,000 miles or more. The days of Henry Ford’s planned obsolescence at 60,000 miles are long gone.
But with that said, motorists will still find themselves going to garages, like SE Motors, to get their cars fixed. This is a problem inherent in gasoline cars. The reason that they can’t last forever is that they have so many moving parts. Eventually, they wear out, fundamentally due to the laws of physics, and there’s nothing that drivers can do.
But here’s where things are going to change in the future. The first significant change is the fact that cars are slowly going electric. Ten years ago, the only hybrid car that people had heard about was the Toyota Prius. It was expensive, slow and a luxury for the eco-conscious. Today, the whole market has been blown open by electric-hybrids and fully electric vehicles.
When it comes to longevity, it’s electric vehicles that we need to be interested in. According to Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla Motors and maker of electric cars, electric vehicles have orders of magnitude fewer moving parts. It turns out that electric motors are actually very simple. All they require is passing a current through a coil that then creates a magnetic field that spins a drum. That spinning motion is then transferred to the wheels and the car moves.
Because there are so few moving parts, it’s expected that maintenance costs on electric vehicles will be much lower. Musk has said that he thinks that, for some of his customers, their Model S or Model X will be the last car they buy. These cars are designed to go on indefinitely, and we may well see the first production cars to regularly pass the one million mile mark in the coming decade. Musk has famously said that the only real expense on maintenance that customers will face is the cost of replacing worn out brake pads, something that still relies on the power of friction to make it work.
All in all, this is good news for drivers, especially if electric car makers can make batteries last longer. If batteries don’t need replacing on a regular basis, many more people will enter the electric market.