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History of Hybrid Vehicles

From Europe to North America to Asia, the history of electric mobility is a demonstration
of the worlds persistent ingenuity and adaptation in transportation. The future of electric
mobility still to be written will stand, in part, on the achievements and lessons learned from
these earlier periods.
Between 1665 and 1680, Flemish Jesuit priest and astronomer Ferdinand Verbiest created
plans for a miniature four-wheel unmanned steam car for Chinese Emperor Khang Hsi. In
1769, Frenchman Nicholas Cugnot built a steam-powered motor carriage capable of six
miles per hour. In 1825, British inventor Goldsworthy Gurney built a steam car that
successfully completed an 85 mile round-trip journey in ten hours time. (Steamers
dominated the automotive landscape until the late 19th century.)
In 1900, while employed at Lohner Coach Factory, Ferdinand Porsche developed the Mixte
a 4WD series-hybrid version of "System Lohner-Porsche" electric carriage previously
appeared in 1900 Paris World Fair.

Figure #Porsche Builds The World's First Hybrid
In 1901: Porsche Builds The
World's First Hybrid
Porsche at the tender age of 26,
built a four wheel drive gasoline-
electric hybrid car.

Porsche incorporated a pair of hub motors in the first Lohner-Porsche design, which
resembled a carriage with electrically powered rear wheels. It was easy enough to create a
four wheel drive version simply by adding two more motors to drive the front wheels, and
that's exactly what Porsche did to create the Toujours-Contente, intended as a record-setting
racer. The vehicle required almost 2 tonnes of lead acid batteries to run, severely hampering
performance and practicality.

Figure #Ferdinand Porsche
Although famous for his conventional
automobiles, Porsche got his start at the
Bla Egger Electrical company in
Vienna, Austria, where he designed an
electric hub motor. To solve the car's
weight problem, Porsche added a
gasoline engine that ran a generator to
power the electric drivetrain; the world's
first series electric hybrid. He even
raced such a vehicle, which was capable
of hitting speeds of up to 60 km/h.
The constant quest to improve performance ultimately proved to be the downfall of his
electric designs, as he concluded that internal combustion combustion engines were far
better suited to automotive use.
By 1905, however, Henry Ford had begun mass-producing inexpensive cars with gasoline
engines, hammering the first nails into the coffin of the early hybrid models. Several
automakers continued to try and perfect the gas/electric hybrid, for both commercial- and
private-vehicle applications, but by 1920 it was clear that the future belonged to the
internal-combustion gasoline engine.

Figure # of Henri Pieper's 1905 Hybrid Vehicle
Patent Application (reference:
In 1931 Erich Gaichen invented and
drove from Altenburg to Berlin a 1/2
horsepower electric car containing
features later incorporated into hybrid
cars. Its maximum speed was 25 miles
per hour (40 km/h), but it was licensed
by the Motor Transport Office, taxed
by the German Revenue Department
and patented by the German Reichs-
Patent Amt.

The car battery was re-charged by the motor when the car went downhill. Additional power
to charge the battery was provided by a cylinder of compressed air which was re-charged
by small air pumps activated by vibrations of the chassis and the brakes and by igniting
oxyhydrogen gas.
In 1965, the U.S. Congress began introducing bills designed to foster exploration of
electric vehicles as a way to reduce air pollution. Auto supplier TRW by 1970 was first to
develop a practical hybrid solution, and General Motors had also built a test car that used
an electric-assist motor at low speeds and a smaller-displacement gasoline engine at higher
The Arab Oil Embargo of the early 1970s spurred further development of modern hybrids.
Big companies and individual entrepreneurs successfully developed and tested gas/electric
hybrids throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including Toyota
Commonly considered to be the company that popularized hybrids, Toyota had its first
hybrid prototype on the road in 1976. Two decades later, the first Prius was introduced to
the Japanese market in 1997, the same year that Audi introduced the Audi Duo, a hybrid
based on the A4 Avant, to the European market.
Though Audi and Toyota mass-marketed the first modern gas/electric hybrids in Europe
and Asia, it was Honda that brought hybrid technology to Americans with the introduction
of the 1999 Insight. A year later, the Toyota Prius went on sale in the U.S.
Today, most automakers have a hybrid model for sale, each employing variations of the
basic premise of an electric motor assisting a gasoline internal-combustion engine, an idea
first developed in the late 19th Century. Starting now, and in the years to come, the next-
generation of hybrid models, called plug-in hybrids, will arrive. Furthermore, the Chevy
Volt is already exploring the future beyond the plug-in hybrid by incorporating ideas
conceived by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche when he was still a young man tinkering with cars in
Environmental Impacts of Hybrid Cars
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are praised as being fuel efficient, and good for the
environment. Most HEV owners will agree about the gas mileage: On average, HEVs get
twice as many miles per gallon as conventional counterparts, data show. But the
environmental impact of HEVs is harder to quantify, particularly since they are still
relatively new to the automobile market.
One of the major negative effects of automobiles on the environment is smog-producing
gases. Smog is particularly evident in large metropolitan areas, where many thousands of
cars are concentrated. The gases that make up smog include nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons,
and other volatile organic compounds. Hybrid cars produce fewer gas emissions than
conventional cars, but not as much less as you might think. Generally, the larger the car, the
greater the difference in emissions between the hybrid and conventional versions. On
average, compact hybrid cars produce 10% fewer smog-producing emissions than their
conventional counterparts. Hybrid models of mid-size cars, mid-size sport-utility vehicles,
and full-size SUVs reduce smog-producing gas emissions by 15%, 19% and 21%,
respectively, over their conventional counterparts.