|History Of Hybrid Cars
Hybrid vehicles are far from being a new invention, although hybrid
cars that combine a gasoline engine and electric batteries have really
come to the fore as we search for less expensive and less damaging
methods to power vehicles. Hybrid engines and power sources have been
used in transport for hundreds of years and while the greatest advances
may have occurred in the last few years it's possible to trace the
history of hybrid electric cars much further back.
– The Leading Light In Modern Hybrid Cars?
One of the earliest gasoline electric cars was the Mixte, designed and
developed by Ferdinand Porsche in 1901. Many of the characteristics of
the series hybrid engine are still in regular and constant use in the
hybrid cars of today. The series hybrid design worked so well that
Porsche himself won the 1901 Exelberg Rally driving his creation. For
its day, the 50km/h car with a range of 50km was well ahead of its time.
A gasoline engine was used to power a generator which, in turn, drove a
small series of motors. The electric engine was used to give the car a
little bit of extra power. This method of series hybrid engine is still
in use today, although obviously with further enhancements to provide
better performance and greater fuel savings.
Motor Vehicle Dual Power - 1915
It was in 1915 that Woods Motor Vehicle manufacturers created the Dual
Power hybrid vehicle. Rather than combining the two power sources to
give a single output of power, the Dual Power used an electric battery
motor to power the engine at low speeds (below 25km/h) and used the
gasoline engine to carry the vehicle from these low speeds up to its
55km/h maximum speed. The Dual Power was more than a one off vehicle,
going into production and creating 600 before the company ceased
production three years later in 1918.
Of The Hybrid - 1960s
Victor Wouk, in the 1960s and 1970s was a fastidious proponent and
designer of hybrid electric vehicles. His work in helping create
numerous hybrid designs earned him the nickname of the
“Godfather of the Hybrid”. In 1976 he even
converted a Buick Skylark from gasoline to hybrid but his work was
stopped due to scandal within the Environmental Protection Agency.
Regenerative Braking System - 1978
Modern hybrid cars rely on the regenerative braking system. When a
standard combustion engine car brakes, a lot of power is lost because
it dissipates into the atmosphere as heat. Regenerative braking means
that the electric motor is used for slowing the car and it essentially
collects this power and uses it to help recharge the electric batteries
within the car. This development alone is believed to have progressed
hybrid vehicle manufacture significantly.
The Regenerative Braking System, however, is not a new concept and was
first designed and developed in 1978 by David Arthurs. Using standard
car components he converted an Opel GT to offer 75 miles to the gallon
and many home conversions are done using the plans for this system that
are still widely available on the Internet.
For A New Generation Of Vehicles (PNGV) - 1993
In 1993, Bill Clinton's administration recognized the urgency for the
mass production of cars powered by means other than gasoline. Numerous
government agencies, as well as Chrysler, Ford, GM, and USCAR combined
forces in the PNGV (Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles). The
remit of this body was to create cars using alternative power sources,
including the development and improvement of hybrid electric vehicles.
History Of Hybrid Cars - 1990s
Despite the big names involved in this collaboration, it was Toyota and
Honda that began to lead the way in the production of hybrid electric
vehicles. The Honda Insight and Toyota Prius were two of the first
mainstream Hybrid Electric Vehicles and both models remain a popular
line, while Toyota and Honda have firmly established themselves as
being leading lights in the development of hybrid cars and green SUVs and improved
The Audi Duo was the first European hybrid car put into mass production
in 1997 and hybrid production and consumer take up has continued to go
from strength to strength over the decades. The increase in this
popularity has, unsurprisingly, also seen an increase in the number of
different models that are available and even the types of car that use
a hybrid electric engine.
The SUV has long been criticized for its high fuel consumption and a
hybrid Ford Escape was released in 2005. Toyota and Ford essentially
swapped patents with one another, Ford gaining a number of Toyota
patents relating to hybrid technology and Toyota, in return, gaining
access to Diesel engine patents from Ford.
Present And Future
Toyota is the most prominent of all manufacturers when it comes to
hybrid cars. As well as the specialist hybrid range they have produced
hybrid versions of many of their existing model lines, including
several Lexus (now owned and manufactured by Toyota) vehicles. They
have also stated that it is their intention to release a hybrid version
of every single model they release in the coming decade.
As well as cars and SUVs, there are a select number of hybrid
motorcycles, pick ups, vans, and other road going vehicles available to
the consumer and the list is continually increasing. While hybrids were
once easy to recognize and failed to deliver the same kind of
performance as their purely ICE (Internal Combustion Engine)
counterparts this has ceased to be the case with modern developments
History Of Hybrid Cars
The history of hybrid cars is much longer and more involved than many
first imagine. It is, however, in the last ten years or so that we, as
consumers, have begun to pay more attention to the hybrid vehicle as a
viable alternative to ICE driven cars. Whether looking for a way to
save money on spiraling gas costs or in an attempt to help reduce the
negative effects on the environment we are buying hybrid cars much more
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