Many out there praise Toyota for developing the first successful hybrid. However, this technology was developed initially by GM, Ford and Chrysler through a grand by The Department of Energy. Due to the abundance of cheap gas the plan was eventually dropped which allowed Toyota to swoop on in and continue the development. However, before any of these ever made it to production another person developed the technology. The truth is that Porche beat Toyota, GM, Ford and Chrysler to the punch with the Elektromobil, a fully functional hybrid engine that could go up to thirty five miles on battery charge alone. All this back in 1898.
Jacob Lohner, a coach builder in Vienna in the late 1800s, asked the young Ferdinand Porsche, a graduate of the Vienna Technical College, to build a silent electric carriage as the gas-powered vehicles of the era were noisy, smelly, shaky and difficult to start.
The result was a fusion of battery and gas powered engines – the first vehicle with front wheel drive, as a matter of fact. The vehicle was first shown at The Paris Exposition of 1900. However, the abundance of cheap gasoline, the expense of the hybrid engine, and a lack of investors led the to disappearance of the hybrid engine for almost one hundred years. Some conspiracy buffs even blame the oil companies for shutting down the Elektromobil.
However, all that was old is new again as many of the features of the Elektromobil have been incorporated into the new Chevy Volt, a battery powered car for the modern age. The Elektromobil was also the inspiration for the Apollo lunar rover.
Courtesy of slightlywarped.com