How Electric Off-Road Vehicles Work

Image Gallery: Electric Cars Electric cars aren't a new idea, but they've gotten shiny new makeovers in recent years. See more pictures of electric cars.
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People around the world are going green in droves. As they replace their appliances and light bulbs with more eco-friendly versions, they're also looking to upgrade their vehicles to conserve fossil fuels and save money. Rising gas prices and concerns over greenhouse gas emissions have helped fuel the market for more efficient vehicles. The automotive industry has responded by introducing a range of more eco-friendly autos, including electric cars.

Electric cars aren't a new idea -- they've actually been around since the earliest days of the automotive industry. Back in the 1800s, electric cars outsold gas-powered vehicles [source: Electric Auto Association].Despite its long history, the popularity of the electric car didn't really start to take off until the 1990s because its limited power and battery cost made the vehicle an impractical purchase. It was virtually unthinkable to try to take an electric vehicle off-road until recently. Today, electric batteries (typically lithium-ion or lead acid batteries) are becoming cheaper and lighter. They're also able to take electric cars farther without needing a charge. What's more, manufacturers are using this new technology to create a new breed of electric vehicle that drivers can take on dirt, rocks and just about anywhere else they want to go.

Who says off-road vehicles have to be gas guzzlers? This article shows how manufacturers create electric off-road vehicles that are friendlier to the environment and can almost keep up with their gasoline-fueled relatives.