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The History of the Hybrid Car: An Evolution for the Future

The hybrid car was created to meet the demand for a car that consumes less fuel and does not contribute to air pollution. Due to rapid advancements in gasoline engines, the hybrid car has become extremely popular.

A hybrid car uses two power sources: a rechargeable energy storage system on board and a fuelled power source as the vehicle's driving force. It pollutes less and uses less fuel.

In 1899, Ferdinand Porsche developed the first working hybrid-electric vehicle, and others followed suit. However, no major car manufacturer invested in the hybrid concept and mass-produced hybrid cars until the late twentieth century. Hybrid technology was mainly utilized in developing diesel-electric submarines during that interim period.

During the 1990s, the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight were the first successful hybrid cars available in the market. Victor Wouk, an idealistic inventor, manufactured a hybrid electric and gas motor vehicle that siphoned fuel at half the amount as practically all the other cars being built then. He built the hybrid car thirty years before the Toyota Prius got the attention of the U.S. as an energy-anxious nation.

Victor Wouk founded and sold two successful electric industrialized companies in the late 1940s and 50s. In 1962, he was approached by Russell Feldman, one of the founders of Motorola, who recognized the pollution from the automobile as one of the biggest problems of the environment and wanted to discover possible solutions. Wouk combined the low-emission benefits of an electric car with the power of a gasoline engine to produce a hybrid vehicle. With the help of his colleague, Charlie Rosen, who shared his belief about hybrid cars, Wouk put up a new company to develop their hybrid car idea.

Since the Toyota Prius was released in the market, it has remained the premier choice of hybrid cars available. Hybrid cars today look very much like conventional cars, but they enable drivers to cut fuel consumption in half. For example, the Honda Civic Hybrid car looks very much like its conventional version, but the hybrid version of the Civic conserves fuel much better than its gasoline counterpart.

Other car manufacturers are now following the footsteps of the companies that have already released a version of their hybrid car in the market. For example, Nissan is planning to develop and introduce a hybrid version of the Nissan Altima.

Over 300,000 hybrid cars are running on American roads, of which 95 percent are Japanese made. Hybrid vehicles are truly a different technology that can save money and our environment.

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