A Brief History of Hybrid Autos

Hybrid autos are thought of as a new concept, a break-through, a rarity. However, if we look more deeply in their history, it turns out that the hybrids are not such a novelty that we may think. In fact, hybrid-engined cars are older than any of us and their history dates back to the beginning of the 20th century.

The electric cars were in fact first created in 1860s, even before the gasoline-engined vehicles appeared (1875), but as far as history of hybrid autos is concerned , it all started in 1902. The first vehicle that could be called hybrid, as it used two power sources, was the ‘Mixte’ designed by Ferdinand Porsche. The car had a gasoline engine to ran a generator which powered electric hub motors. The hybrid autos were later produced by several companies such as Krieger, Lohner-Porsche and Auto-Mixte. However at that time the gasoline-engines technology prevailed. The crucial moment was when Henry Ford built his first assembly line in 1914. He introduced many improvements to the gas-run engines what enabled him to start a mass production and introduce first affordable car – the T model.

From that time the technology of electric, steam and hybrid cars was neglected. Few were trying to develop the idea and only when the issue of air-pollution and global warming became serious, the gasoline alternatives was once again brought to the centre of attention. The rising price of gasoline also played its role and spurred the interest in different energy sources. The massive price rise of oil was noted in the 1970s and in those years many automotive industry players with a governments’ blessing came back to the idea of hybrid autos. In those years a German company Volkswagen launched a hybrid-engined car – the VW Taxi, Toyota began working on the concept and built its first hybrid prototype and American government started to use electric vehicles produced by American Motors.

The real breakthrough in hybrid autos history was the launch of Toyota Prius in 1997 to the Japanese market, the first mass-produced modern vehicle of that type. Soon other manufacturers followed and the hybrid autos were introduced to European and American markets. The fastest followers were Audi and Honda. At first, the drivers were rather careful and in 1997 only 18,000 of hybrids were sold, however with time and due to improvements introduced by the manufacturers, their popularity has grown. In fact in the years of 2004-2007 the demand for Prius was higher than the supply and there were waiting lists created for those willing to buy the car.

To sum up, it seems that the future of hybrid autos is now secure as the technology is getting more popular and is also supported by many governments. All the major car manufacturers are constantly working on launching new models and improving the already existing ones. All in all, after a century of neglect, the hybrid technology is now here for good and the hybrid autos are beginning to be a standard, not a rarity owned by few.

Advanced Telematics Systems Deliver Personalized Auto Satisfaction

Imagine the most captivating, comforting and satisfying features of a vehicle. Now, imagine them being executed at the most convenient manner. This and more could be had through the Telematics Solutions from Continental Automotive Systems.

With the said advanced solutions, digital music and other auto features could be enjoyed with just a touch of a button or by simply using voice commands. The Telematics Solutions from the Automotive Systems Division will serve as the key to make wireless connection of portable devices, like MP3 players and PDAs, more convenient and user-friendly.

Continental Automotive Systems has already integrated Bluetooth and telematics systems to over 12 million vehicles. Now, the division of Continental AG, an international automotive supplier, is in the process of designing intelligent electronics that will wirelessly connect portable devices and external digital content to the car. This auto feature will enable drivers to access their personal music collection in new ways while enjoying a ride.

With the new feature, the drivers will not only have the ability to carry out hands-free mobile phone calls but they also will be able to play digital music inside their car and access songs using voice commands, controls in the steering wheel or instrument panel. The forthcoming next-generation telematics products in development will be adaptable to future wireless technologies and standards by software updates. The feature makes it easier to stay connected to the latest auto devices.

With the new solutions, digital music can be transferred via Bluetooth wireless technology or USB connection. The driver can navigate through the device’s menu by pushing a button or using voice commands. The company’s telematics systems also wirelessly download a mobile phone’s address book into the car, support personalized ringtones and stored speed dialing numbers, use text-to-speech to read incoming short messages (SMS) aloud if desired and allows up to 12 Bluetooth phones to be connected to the system.

If ever the mobile phone call is initiated outside the car and is to be continued in the car, the telematics feature automatically transfers the call without interruption to the car’s hands-free system when the ignition is switched on. On the other hand, a phone module for service and assistance functions and mobile internet access can be built into the telematics unit.

“Continental Automotive Systems recognizes that development cycles in the field of consumer electronics are much shorter than in the automotive industry,” comments Kieran O`Sullivan, the head of Continental Automotive Systems Telematics business unit. “Future portable devices can be supported by new software updates or new hardware components.” The telematics solutions also recognize the needs of the car manufacturers in that these components can be combined into a wireless communications gateway which can be integrated into the car and connected up to its networks.

The new telematics systems create an in-vehicle communications network that swiftly integrates portable devices and digital content into cars. In regard to accessing digital music, the driver’s hands could stay on the steering wheel and eyes stay on the road while choosing and playing songs.

These solutions could be mated to Volvo clutch disc and other brand’s auto parts to deliver utmost auto satisfaction.

German Car Manufacturers Going “Green”

The global community is now under siege of the global warming issue. To counter the huge amount of greenhouse gases being released by vehicles all over the world, car manufacturers continue to develop ways to cut down the fuel consumption of their production vehicles.

The American International Automobile Dealers Association’s (AIADA) newsletter recently reported that German carmakers are among the players in the auto industry which have taken a keen interest in producing environment friendly cars. This may be their response to the ongoing debate on the stricter EURO6 emission standards set to be implemented in the year 2015. The steps being taken by German car makers are also a big help in the protection of the environment.

While according to the German newspaper Deutsche Welle, German car makers have yet to produce a true hybrid. And several car makers from the region expressed their interest on producing mild hybrids in the near future.

BMW has already announced that they will be teaming up with American car maker Chrysler in developing a mild hybrid transmission system for rear-wheel drive performance cars. This effort by the two car makers will further enhance the hybrid technology being used on cars today.

Another European car maker which has taken steps to produce environmentally friendly vehicles is Volkswagen. The German car maker has presented their lineup of super-efficient, ultra-low emission cars under the BlueMotion line. The company has already announced this technology in 2006 in the famous VW Polo. The technology is named after the color of Volkswagen’s logo. Today, the BlueMotion technology is being planned to be incorporated on other Volkswagen vehicles like the Golf, Passat, and the Touran.

The Polo BlueMotion is equipped with a specially designed 1.4 liter diesel engine which has an astounding gas mileage rating of 60.3 miles per gallon. The fuel efficient Polo is also a very low emission vehicle with only 102 grams of CO2 released per kilometer. These figures beat the stats by the renowned Toyota Prius. The further enhancement of the BlueMotion technology will only help the car manufacturer produce more and more environment friendly vehicles.

Aside from the accomplishment of Volkswagen with the BlueMotion technology, they have also announced that they will be working with another German car manufacturer – Porsche. The two famous car maker has announced that they will be working together to produce eco-friendly cars which will be out in the market by the year 2008.

The partnership between the two forward thinking companies is hoped to bring revolutionary technologies which will help not only the companies but the entire auto industry in their battle against global warming. With Volkswagen leading the way for German car makers, it is only a matter of time before we see them as serious competition to Asian car makers who seemed to have the upper hand in the eco-friendly vehicle market all over the world.

Toyota and Honda has been leading the way when it comes to producing green cars. The Toyota Prius, the first successful electric hybrid car, is still selling in large quantities. The popularity of the Prius is well documented, aside from being the best selling hybrid car in the U.S., the owners of these cars have created a group to celebrate their concern for nature.

A website dedicated to hybrid car owners is put up with the cooperation of Toyota. Another hybrid car which has been racking up sales in the U.S. is the Honda Civic Hybrid. The Honda Civic in itself is already famous thanks to its fuel efficiency and good performance in handling and in ride comfort. But with the introduction of the hybrid version, the buyer base of the Asian brand in the U.S. quickly supported the hybrid version.

The accomplishments of Honda and Toyota are what German car makers are shooting for. With continued developments, German car makers will surely be coming up with hybrid cars as efficient and as reliable as Dodge Rancho shocks