There has been an immense debate over whether its worth spending the money to purchase a Hybrid car over a standard vehicle. What is a Hybrid Car? First built in the early 1900s, Hybrid vehicles are defined as a car that runs on two sources of power. The most common Hybrid vehicle combines a gasoline engine with an electric motor, which is known as a Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV). While most people consider this to be a recent invention, the technology has been around since the development of the first car. In fact, the first Hybrid car was created in 1899.
The Beginning of Hybrids: The first Hybrid car was created by an engineer Ferdinand Porsche, which was named the System Lohner-Porsche Mixte. This vehicle used the combination of a gasoline engine to supply power to an electric motor. Surprisingly, the Mixte had over 300 produced, but once Henry Ford started the first assembly line in 1904, the demand for Hybrids slowly diminished. The main reason the demand decreased was due to the fact that Ford was able to sell gasoline engine vehicles for less and they produced more power.
The Rebirth of Hybrids: After almost fifty years later, the United States congress introduced legislation that encouraged using more electric vehicles to attempt reducing the air pollution in the 1960s. Over the next thirty years, auto manufacturers spent billions of dollars researching the development of Hybrid cars and the technology that was needed. Sadly, only a few cars were produced which would both reduce our worlds dependence on oil and be able to compete with the historic gasoline vehicles price and performance.
These vehicles failed to attract consumers and were eventually dropped from the production line. It wasnt until the Toyota Prius, which released in 1997; Hybrid cars were finally starting to gain popularity in the automotive industry. From there, numerous Hybrid cars were released into the United States. For example, the Honda Insight became the first mass-produced HEV in the United States, which was a a small two-door car. The Toyota Prius is known as the Hybrid to many people, because it gave the Hybrid technology the consumers were hunting for.
This particular vehicle has been the most popular HEV ever produced and auto manufacturers have used the technology as the platform for their Hybrid vehicle models. In this era of being environmentally friendly, auto manufacturers have shifted their production lines toward offering more Hybrid models to their customers. Toyota still offers the Prius, but Chevrolet and Honda have high expectations for their newest family members, the Volt and second generation Insight. We can expect auto manufacturers to continue shifting their production in the field of Hybrids.
The Future of Hybrids: Since there is an increasingly demand for Hybrids, we can expect the future of Hybrids to be near. The next biggest change consumers can expect is to phase away from Nickel-Cadmium battery packs. Virtually every Hybrid on the road today has these battery backs. They are great for durability and proven to work well, but they have disadvantages since they are nearly six-teen years old. Nickel-Cadmium batteries do not charge as fast as other batteries and they are very heavy, because nickel is very heavy.
By finding an alternative to these heavy batteries and reducing the weight, cars will be more efficient and have the ability to charge faster. There have been rumors of switching HEVs to Lithium-Ion Technology, which is both lighter and charges faster. Another report indicated the transformation of using a diesel engine combined with electric, which would increase the fuel economy of the vehicle. All these changes the future hold are the next stepping stones of the Hybrid era.