They've Come A Long Way, Baby - Hybrid Cars In The Modern Era

By: Arant Cavin

If you'd have spoken about the prospect of cars partially run on electric being available on the mass market a couple of decades ago, you'd probably have been accused of watching too much Tomorrow's World, or even Star Wars. However, hybrid cars have done that since the early 1900s.

Although in the eyes of many the boom in production of hybrid cars was started by Toyota with the Prius in 1997, it was actually an Austrian-German engineer that was responsible for their invention. Ferdinand Porsche developed the Mixte in 1900. An incredible engineering achievement, the vehicle ran on two to four 10-14 horse power electric motors.

These motors were powered by a combination of a battery or a petrol engine. Porsche oversaw the production and sales of a number of these hybrid cars - albeit nowhere near as many as are rolled off the factory production lines today.

Before the start of the Second World War the popularity of hybrid vehicles began to tail off.

Now almost all major car manufacturers offer at least one or two hybrid cars.

Here's a rundown of some of the hybrid cars you can expect to see in today's market.

BMW Hybrid Cars: German manufacturer BMW's main hybrid offering is the ActiveHybrid 5. Perfect for those who discreetly want to go about their business - some hybrid cars have been accused of looking too futuristic in the past - it looks like most of the cars from BMW's 5 Series range.

It's powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol engine, which acts as the main power source, whilst a 54 bhp (brake horse power) electric engine enables it to provide a fuel efficiency rate of 44.1 mpg (miles per gallon) - good for such a large car.

Continuing a theme seen in nearly all 5 Series models, the interior on the ActiveHybrid 5 is extremely well put together. All the materials on display are of an incredibly high-quality. The vehicle's also very roomy - making for a fantastic ride.

It also manufactures the ActiveHybrid 3 and the ActiveHybrid 7.

Peugeot Hybrid Cars: Like BMW, Peugeot also produces a number of hybrid cars, including the 3008 HYbrid4 - renowned for being the world's first full diesel hybrid - the 508 HYbrid4 - a saloon model - and the 508 RXH - a large family car.

Each one of these hybrid cars utilises Peugeot's own HYbrid4 technology. A hybrid powertrain system allows the manufacturer's models to deliver highly impressive fuel efficiency rates. The 3008 HYbrid4 can provide a rate of 83.1 mpg; meanwhile, the 508 HYbrid4 is capable of doing 78.5 mpg and the 508 RXH, 68.9 mpg.

As well as being able to offer great fuel efficiency rates, Peugeot's range of hybrid cars boast wonderfully sleek design features. With a heavy emphasis on curved lines and the promise of a huge amount of comfort in their interiors, the acclaim Peugeot's offerings have received isn't all that surprising.

Peugeot and BMW, as you're probably well aware, aren't the only manufacturers to produce hybrid cars. There are many more options available on the market to be explored.

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Hybrid cars have been produced for a number of years. This article looks at some of the hybrid models offered by just two manufacturers - BMW and Peugeot - in the modern era.

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