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Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

One of the fastest growing areas of the automotive industry is the production of electric and hybrid vehicles. These cars and trucks use electric power to augment or eliminate the need for a gasoline engine.

Hybrid technology is not a new idea.  Ferdinand Porsche developed the world's first  functional hybrid car, the Lohner-Porsche Semper Vivus ("Always Alive") and presented it at the Paris Auto Show of 1901.  A modified version, the Mixte, was put into production later that year.

 In 1979, Mother Earth News reported that David Arthur of Springdale, Arkansas, had converted his Opel to hybrid electric operation, and blueprints were offered for sale.

There are currently three categories of electric and hybrid vehicles on the market.  A good explanation of each type, side-by-side comparisons of different models, and links to other informative websites can be found at

  • Electric vehicles (EV's) are propelled by an electric motor powered by rechargeable battery packs.
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV's) are hybrids with high-capacity batteries that can be charged by plugging them in to an electrical outlet or charging station. 
  • Hybrid vehicles (HEV's) have a regular gasoline engine assisted by an electric motor.  The electricity for that motor is generated by the vehicle's own energy as it is braking and is stored in a battery pack. now lists over 60 electric and hybrid vehicles on its website.

Magazine articles about hybrid electrics can be found in the Library's MasterFile Premier* database.

Books and other materials in the Library's collection can be found by searching our COOLcat catalog for the following subjects:

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