The first steam-powered motor car or rather motor carriage was made by Nicholas Cugnot in 1769.
The Gurney steam car, built by Sir Goldsworthy Gurney in 1825
completed an 85 mile round-trip journey in ten hours time.
In or about the year 1839, Moritz von Jacobi sailed an electric boat on the Neva,
with the help of an electromagnetic engine of one horse- power, fed by the current from a battery of Grove cells, and in 1882 a screw launch, carrying several passengers, and propelled by an electric motor of three horse-power, worked by forty-five accumulators, was tried on the Thames.
Rodert Anderson built the first crude electric carriage in 1839.
In 1870 David Salomon developed a electric car with a light electric motor. The batteries are at this time heavy so performance was poor.
The first electric "railway" was built by Dr. Werner von Siemens in 1879. The wheels of the car were driven by an electric motor drawing its electricity from the rails which where insulated from ground and connected to a generator.
In 1889 Magnus Volk made several electric carriages, one for the Sultan of Turkey. It was propelled by a one- horse-power Immisch electric motor and thirty "EPS" accumulators to give a speed of ten miles an hour.
Between 1885-1889 M. Goubet constructed submarines, propelled by a screw and an electric motor fed by accumulators,
for discharging torpedoes and exploring the sea.
The London Electric Cab Company began regular service in 1897 using cars
designed by Walter Bersey. The Bersey Cab, used a 40-cell battery
and 3 horsepower electric motor and had a usable range of 50 miles.
In 1899 Dr Ferdinand Porsche, then a young engineer at Jacob Lohner & Co, built the first Hybrid Vehicle or more specifically the first Hybrid Car.
1903 Lohner- Porsche at Norvegian Technical Museum
The Lohner-Porsche petrol-electric 'Mixte' used a petrol engine rotating at a constant speed to drive a dynamo, which charged a bank of accumulators.
These, in turn, fed current to electric motors contained within the hubs of the front wheels. Therefore there was no need of drive shafts, transmission, gears, straps, chains,or clutch. Due to its extreme simplicity the transmission operated, therefore, without losses produced by mechanical friction with an incredible yield of 83%.
When it first appeared in the World Exhibition of Paris , in April 14th ,1900 , the Lohner-Porsche with electrical motors astonished the automobile world and was an authentic novelty for the automobile fans of that time.
The innovating success of this design catapulted Dr. Ferdinand Porsche to the fame as engineer. 300 Lohner Porsches where produced. The patent was later sold to Emil Jellinek
The Krieger Hybrid made in 1903, used a gasoline engine to supplement a battery pack. As you can see it is nearly identical to the 1903 Lohner-Porsche.
Up to the 1920's several manufacturer made Hybrid "Cars" over a similar mold.
Hybrid Cars like the Belgian Auto-Mixte added to the technology. The Auto-mixte, produced in Liege Belgium in 1906/7 used an interesting technology called the Henri-Pieper system.
The 24hp engine drove via a magnetic disc clutch a motor dynamo that was connected to a transmission that was without a gearbox, and then to the rear wheels by chain final drive.
Normally the engine alone could be used to propel the car. When the load was light or braking required the dynamo driven by the engine or the final drive (Regenerative braking,) could be used to charge a bank of 28 Tudor batteries in series.
When the load was heavy the battery could be used to drive the dynamo as a motor to assist the engine, or the electric motor could be used to drive the car on its own. This was achieved using a hand operated controller to select the required configuration electrically.
The clutch disc was also utilized as part of a magnetic brake.
A 4x4 Hybrid bus in Vienna -a Lohner?
In 1905 H. Piper filed a patent for
a petrol-electric hybrid vehicle. His idea was to use an electric motor to assist an internal-combustion engine, mainly to augment the ICE to let the vehicle accelerate to 40 kilometers (25 miles) per hour in 10 seconds, instead of the usual 30.
By the time the patent was issued, three and a half years later, engines had become powerful enough to achieve this kind of performance on their own.
Cheap petrol and advances in ICE and automobile production in general (Henry Ford) gradually killed off the Hybrid "Cars".
A notable exceptions is the 1921 Owen Magnetic Model 60 Touring which uses a gasoline engine to run a generator that supplies electric power to motors mounted in each of the rear wheels.
Hybrid cars did not appear again until the in 1960's and 1970's, when cars like the 1965 GM512 and especially the 1973 VW Taxi Hybrid Vehicle which was produced in the wake of the Arab Oil embargo.
But Hybrid Vehicle technology did not disappear its development continued in another arena.