ars technica - October 12, 2012 by Jonathan M. Gitlin
In some ways, the arrival of the car around 130 years ago represented a dumbing down of transportation. I'm not saying those early cars weren't impressive engineering feats; they were, and continue to be. But your average horse possesses a certain intelligence that your average horseless carriage lacks (and that's before we get to Mr. Ed). But the seeds of change were sown in Silicon Valley, and decades of Moore's Law has worked its magic to bring us to the current day. Ultimately, the future of more fuel efficient cars is going to be a future of more intelligent cars—everything from autonomous vehicles to engines that navigate traffic better than we do.
Combining internal combustion engines with electric motors might be all the rage now, but the idea goes back further than you might think. Back at the very beginning of the twentieth century, Ferdinand Porsche (yes, that Porsche) created the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid. It used batteries and a Daimler engine to power electric motors mounted in each wheel hub. This arrangement, known as a series hybrid, uses the engine to run a generator, which in turn powers the electric motors and/or charges the car's batteries.
Follow me on Twitter. Please subscribe to our news feed. Get regular updates via Email. Contact us for advertising inquiries.