The woods dual power Car and the amount of success

Up to 1918, 600 examples were built. The Woods Dual Power was not a commercial success. It was too expensive and drove too slowly compared to the conventional petrol car. In addition, the maintenance of the hybrid propulsion was expensive.

In the period after the Second World War until 1990 there have been several developments in the technology of both hybrid and electric cars. Such as the regeneration of electrical energy during braking for charging the batteries. Electronic circuits were also used that provided for intelligent cooperation between the petrol engine and the electric motor in the event that more or less power was required. These developments were mainly for small-scale experiments and were encouraged by governments in America, Europe and Japan with the aim of making fossil fuel cars more economical and reducing harmful emissions.

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The real breakthrough of the hybrid electric car came in the late 1990s. To respond to the public and political desire to reduce fuel consumption (CO2 emissions) and pollutant emissions from combustion engine cars, the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation decided in 1997 to launch a gasoline-electric hybrid car on the market. 

It became the Toyota Prius, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid car. Initially only available in Japan, the Prius became available in the U.S. and Europe in an improved version in 2001. Initially sales were slow, but from 2003 when the second generation Prius appeared (type XW20 see photo), the model became more popular in both the US and Europe.

Shortly after, other manufacturers had also introduced a hybrid car to the market, including the Honda Insight. HEV’s get a clear position in the market and until now there are more and more manufacturers that provide their models with hybrid propulsion. The development of the all-electric car and the plug-in hybrid car, a HEV in which the battery can be charged with a plug, has also taken place.

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An important negative factor of the HEV is the relatively high purchase price that is caused by the high production and development costs. The government’s incentives are therefore a major support for the sales of HEVs. When purchasing a hybrid car, one receives a purchase premium or the car is (partially) exempt from purchase or use tax, as in the US, Canada, Japan and a number of countries in Europe, including the Netherlands.

Since 2008, due to economic decline, unstable oil prices and the environmental issue of global climate change, there has been a great need for new innovative developments in the Western world.

In general, it is considered that the greenhouse gas CO2, caused by human activities such as the combustion of coal and gas in power stations and the use of petrol and diesel for cars, plays an important role in global climate change. In addition, people are also aware that the availability of fossil fuels on our planet (such as oil, gas and coal) is not infinite.

It is difficult to predict future developments to attract the economy and solve the climate problem. How long will the conventional car with petrol and diesel engine continue to exist? To what extent will the hybrid car and the electric car replace the conventional car? Will there be a whole new development? Today’s society cannot be compared to that of the early 1900s, when the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid was driving around. In the coming decades it will be determined which direction will be taken for the automobile but also for mobility in general. However, history has taught us that major changes are possible, as is the step from the horse-drawn carriage to the automobile of today.

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Land transport is as old as history. First, pack animals were used, then the invention of the wheel, which made it possible to use carts, both for transporting goods and passengers. The luxury version of the cart became the carriage. This was gradually improved over the years, first with suspension systems and later with the addition of brakes.

The discovery of steam power at the beginning of the 17th century led to the invention of several machines, including ventilation pumps used in English mines. Many inventors tried to use that steam power to propel themselves.

The first to do so, as far as we know, was Père Verbiest, a Belgian Jesuit who lived as a missionary in China at the end of the 17th century. He built a scale model of a steam-powered cart. The Emperor found this extremely amusing, but the project was never carried out. 

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