The automotive world is always changing, and here at Castle Car Company, we aim to keep you informed of as much of it as we can. Given that hybrid and full-electric vehicles have been experiencing a surge of popularity in the past few years, we find it fit to give you an in-depth look at the history of electric vehicles, their current state in the market and in the world, as well as the future of hybrid and electric vehicles. Hybrid cars have gained a small, but viable, share of the market, and industry trends predict that they will become more and more common as time goes on.

History

While internal combustion engines, or ICEs, have been around since 1886, and have primarily held the massive majority of market share in the automobile market, electric vehicles have been around almost as long! The first electric vehicle was built and produced in 1832, but was expensive and not particularly viable as a means of daily or long-distance transportation. They weren’t refined to the point that they could be marketed to the masses until the 1880’s, just a few years before the rise of ICEs. Gasoline was accepted as a viable fuel in 1892, so a world of electric vehicles isn’t necessarily that far out of the question, given that it was almost the case from the very beginning of the car industry. As a brief historic note, diesel first gained acceptance and popularity in 1893, so most common fuel sources on today’s vehicles emerged in the same general time period.

While electric vehicles did experience an initial surge of popularity, the low cost of fossil fuels meant that ICEs ultimately became the industry standard for vehicles of all types. In recent years, the hybrid vehicle has also become an industry standard, starting with the Toyota Prius in 1997 in Japan, being released to the rest of the world in 1999. They’ve garnered a strong response from people all over the world, though they’re generally seen as less powerful than a standard gasoline engine.

Current Market

While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s a few indisputable good traits about hybrid cars at large. They are environmentally friendly, and reduce your emissions overall. They burn less gas than a standard gasoline engine, though you’ll still have to stop for fuel every now and then. Given the price of gas, saving money on fuel is going to be a concern for anyone that’s in the market for a different vehicle. Hybrid vehicles tend to be quieter than others, as electric motors and batteries both make less noise than their gas-powered counterparts.

They often require less maintenance than their gas or diesel, given that the ICE part of the powertrain is in use less often due to the battery providing power when needed.

Though it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to hybrid cars. Though you might be paying less in fuel and maintenance in the long run, the upfront cost of purchasing the car is likely to be higher. When maintenance is needed, it’s likely to be more expensive, and you may need a specialty mechanic, as the garages in your area may not have the tools or experience needed to work on a hybrid. They still do create fossil fuel emissions, just less so than a regular engine. It also varies quite a bit by make and model, but hybrids tend to be slower than standard ICE powered engines. Your average American ICE vehicle will go from 0 to 60 in about 6 seconds, whereas your average American hybrid vehicle will do the same in approximately 10 seconds. Toyota Prius in particular has a bit of a reputation for being slow, but when you're saving a ton on fuel costs, a little extra time spent on the commute can be well worth it.

Future

As industry trends grow and develop, it's hard to predict where the market will take things. As the market share for hybrids and electrics grows each year, it's easy to assume that this trend will continue, but many different factors could change the rate of development. Gasoline powered engines tend to get more efficient with each passing model year, and new forms of hybrid technology grow and improve at the same rate. We're seeing more electric cars on the road than ever before, due primarily to Tesla, but bolstered by industry standards like Ford and Chevrolet. It would be reasonable to assume that both will continue for the foreseeable future, and beyond that, but there's always the chance of a new idea rising. Before the rise of the motor-powered car, it would've been hard to predict exactly how much impact it would have on the way we live and do business, and that same problem remains to this day. Concept vehicles have been produced that run on ethanol, solar power, wind power, grain alcohol, kitchen grease and more, and while they may seem to be outlandish changes from the standard model, revolutionary technology tends to look that way before it takes over.

We feel that the current paradigm will continue for at least another 10 years or so, but in the meantime, you're going to need a vehicle of your own, so check out our inventory! We generally carry a few hybrid models at any given time, and would be happy to give you any information you need on any of the vehicles on our lot.