With a high awareness of being environmentally friendly, consumers are eager to get on the hybrid technology train. Not only does it save drivers in gas, but also car insurance companies give lower insurance rates to those who drive them. As such an advanced technology, one would think the hybrid engine, deriving its power from electricity and gasoline, is a recent advancement in automotive technology. The truth is hybrid technology had its origins earlier than the turn-of-the-century - The Twentieth Century.
Hybrid technology was first thought of by a Jesuit Priest named Ferdinand Verbeist. In 1665, he drew plans for a four-wheeled, steam-powered vehicle pulled by one horse. It wasn't until 1769 that the steam-powered carriage was actually invented. However, this vehicle was very slow (topping out at 6 mph) and failed to travel long distances.
Flashing forward to 1901, designer Ferdinand Porsche created one of the earliest engine models to use hybrid technology. It was essentially a gasoline engine powered by an electric generator, which in turn powered a series of small motors. In 1905, American engineer, H. Piper applied for a patent for the first gasoline-electric car. His plan was to use an electric motor to augment a combustion engine to propel the car to the speed of 25 mph in 10 seconds. Then, in 1915, the Woods Motor Company created the Duo-Power engine. Instead of using two power sources to drive the engine, an electric motor was used to power the vehicle at low speeds of below 25 mph, and gasoline was used to accelerate the car to speeds up to 55 mph.
Victor Wouk, who was dubbed with the nickname "Godfather of the Hybrid," along with Charlie Rosen, created numerous designs using hybrid technology in the 1960s and "70s. In 1976, they were credited with converting a Buick Skylark from a gasoline to an electric vehicle. Although the vehicle met EPA guidelines, it was later rejected. Foreign carmakers entered the market in the "80s. Toyota then produced the first hybrid sports car featuring a gas turbine generator that supplied power to an electric motor. In 1989, Audi introduces the Duo experimental model. It utilized a 12.6 horsepower electric motor in conjunction with a nickel-cadmium battery that powered the rear wheels of the car instead of the propeller. In 2004, America jumped on board with the first hybrid SUV, the Ford Escape.
Hybrid vehicles provide the solution to rising gas prices, environmental issues and high car insurance rates. Drivers of hybrid vehicles receive exceptional car insurance rates - as much as 10%, because they fall into a certain demographic of being more responsible than gasoline car drivers.