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Discussion Starter #1
Or at least was the sperm donor? :p

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/04102016/exxon-climate-change-hybrid-cars-technology-another-road-not-taken-electric-vehicle-toyota-prius

Long read, but pretty interesting. Exxon delivered a proof of concept vehicle to Toyota (after other Detroit manufacturers spurned interest) about how a gas-electric hybrid with an AC motor could be viable in a commercial vehicle.

Exxon ended up selling off its battery division (because they are oil guys!), and eventually Toyota came out with the Prius in 1997....possibly based off the concept Exxon came up with 18 years prior.
 

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I vaguely recall hearing (I think in a YouTube review of the Ford C-Max) that gas/electric hybrid technology was first proposed back in the 1960s. I'm afraid I don't have a link, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4

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I've read on several occasions that the Japanese program that led to the Insight and Prius was a response to the PNGV program - where GM, Ford, and Chrysler were given government grant money to develop more efficient cars that were mostly hybrids.

Some seemed pretty practical, too - but those programs died in 2000 with a shift to Hydrogen research before any of the cars made it to market.
 

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That Exxon article may be a lie.

The true "Godfather" of the modern hybrid, who actually built one in 1974 and had it tested by the EPA, was the engineer Victor Wouk. Read more at all these links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Wouk (He was a New Yorker as I am!)
http://www.hybridcars.com/the-great-hybrid-car-cover-up-of-74/
http://evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=20355
http://www.mlive.com/opinion/flint/index.ssf/2009/02/victor_wouks_1972_buick_skylar.html
http://www.autoblog.com/2006/01/15/a-buick-skylark-hybrid/
http://www.treehugger.com/cars/hybrid-inventor-victor-wouk-1919-2005.html
http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/713/2/Hybrid.pdf
http://projects-web.engr.colostate.edu/VEEP/pdf_presentations/Hybrid_Electric_Vehicles_History.pdf (read page 17)
http://ethw.org/Oral-History:Victor_Wouk
http://www.rokemneedlearts.com/carsindepth/wordpressblog/?p=5398
http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jun/19/local/me-wouk19
https://www.amazon.com/Victor-Wouk-Choices-Callery-2009-04-01/dp/B01K9B0EUA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475936744&sr=8-1&keywords=victor+wouk

Watch this documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1Uu1MfAmq4

Here is Victor Wouk's paper published by the SAE in 1976:
http://papers.sae.org/760123/

And here is a list of all his published papers at the SAE:
http://profiles.sae.org/victor_wouk/

If you do a search as I did, you can find even more!

The SAE accepts Wouk as the firrst engineer to publish such work in 1976 (see link above). In one article that I can't find now, the chief engineer at Toyota admits that he read Wouk's paper before he lead the development of Toyota's Prius. So Toyota, which is the first modern producer of the hybrids we see now, unofficially accepts Wouk as the true creator of the modern hybrid.

Exxon probaby read Wouk's paper, too, so if they are trying to look "green" now, they are truly liars.
 

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Victor Wouk's design was nothing like the Prius design. Wouk and an associate did some very cool tinkering and he really pushed hard to get his parallel single electric motor design taken seriously but he wasn't and car makers may have also been spooked by concerns of adding to vehicle manufacturing costs. This was also before NiMH hybrid battery packs and before computer controllers to manage everything.

My somewhat exhaustive (yes, a pun) history of the modern power split style of hybrid leading to the Prius, Volt, and Malibu hybrid can be found here:

http://www.hybridcars.com/revenge-of-the-two-mode-hybrid/
 

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I've read on several occasions that the Japanese program that led to the Insight and Prius was a response to the PNGV program - where GM, Ford, and Chrysler were given government grant money to develop more efficient cars that were mostly hybrids.

Some seemed pretty practical, too - but those programs died in 2000 with a shift to Hydrogen research before any of the cars made it to market.
Besides the PNGV program, there was also the USABC [US Advanced Battery Consortium] that the Big 3 were leading to demo an EV. They did not want the Japanese companies as part of the program, although European companies [Varta, Saft, Silent Power] were welcomed. Because of the efforts in the two US programs, they could have pushed Toyota to accelerate their work on HEVs. I was a participant in both of these programs at a Natl. lab. so experienced first hand the poor management when you let the auto companies take charge of taxpayers money. Just my opinion.

Here is link to some further insight on the birth of the Prius:
http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/17/news/companies/mostadmired_fortune_toyota/
 
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