Home > Free Essays > Tech & Engineering > Engineering > The Evolution of the Car Engine

The Evolution of the Car Engine Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Jan 22nd, 2020

Evolution of the internal-combustion Engine

An engine where processes of burning fuel takes place within an enclosed room, emitting gases that increase due to pressure that in turn supply energy, qualifies to be an internal combustion engine. The history of combustion engines dates back in the year 1680 when Christian Huygens, a Dutch physicist experimented with them (Daniels, 2003).

In 1859, saw the success of development of an effective gasoline powered engine. The French engineer, Etienne Lenoir developed a double-acting, spark ignition engine that did not experience interruptions. In 1862, a French scientist, Alphonse Beau De Rochas, improved on Lennoir’s invention but failed to develop a four-stroke engine.

A successful four-stroke engine emerged sixteen years later after Nikolaus Otto’s hard work. This engine became known as Otto cycle. Another success was the two-stroke engine that Dougald Clerk completed in the same year Joseph Day improved it to a commercial success to date. In 1875, George Bryton, an American engineer tried a hand on two-stroke engine that would utilize kerosene but failed as a result of its slow pace and size (Junge, 2010).

Gottlieb Daimler in 1885 built a smaller and fast paced version of the modern gas engine that had a vertical cylinder and consumed gasoline forced via the carburetor.

After four years, the same American engineer invented a four-stroke engine assuming a mushroom-shaped valves and double cylinders positioned in a V-shape with a higher ratio of power to that of weight. This engine did not have the electric ignition until 1924 when inventions of one proved possible. However, gasoline engines in use today can trace their origins from Daimler’s engines.

American Designs of electric powered vehicles

France and the Great Britain reinforced the notion of the electric powered cars in the late 1800s. The idea of developing these automobiles became a reality when Belgium assembled electric sports car that bore the name La Jamais Contente that made a world record of 68 mph for pace on land, with Camille Jénatzy taking credit for its design (Bellis, 2012).

In 1895, the Americans directed their interest to these inventions of electric vehicles. This was after success trials of electric tricycles through A.L. Ryker’s works and William Morrison who developed a wagon for six passengers in 1891.

Afterwards, many inventions of electric-powered vehicles cropped up, but of them all, William Morrison’s design of electric powered vehicles with the capacity to accommodate passengers took credit.

In 1897, the Philadelphia electric and Wagon Company built a fleet of taxis in New York City that became the beginning of establishing commercial vehicle. However, the pace of these electric vehicles developed earlier was painfully slow as they only covered 20 miles per hour. This factor was as a result of technological underdevelopment and lack of transistor technological know-how.

Irrespective of their pace, they outdid their competitors of the early 19th century. They had reduced instances of moving back and forth rapidly, they emitted low level of smokes and had reduced noise linked to cars that utilized gasoline. In addition, electric vehicles did not have challenges on gear changing as their counterparts.

Electric vehicles were also a tag of the well to do as they became to them city vehicles. The limited range became more of an advantage than a loss. They were a preference to a lot as they required less energy for them to start as opposed to the gasoline vehicles that made a lot of noise during ignition (Westbrook, 2001). Electric vehicle were easy to manage and operate; thus, recommended for women.

Increased Popularity

Lack of proper infrastructure hampered the appreciation of electric vehicles. In 1912, the bridging of this problem was through people wiring their homes for electricity key for propelling the electric vehicles.

This boosted the popularity of the vehicles. At the beginning of the century, a number of 33,842 electric vehicles in the United States became registered. This was an obvious sign of acceptance as this high number of registration was far above those of other vehicles.

As opposed to basic electric cars that fetched for USD 1,000 at the beginning of the century, the later versions of electric vehicles had unique interior features with expensive materials that facilitated high sales season in 1912. For challenges that came with the absence of recharging facilities, a battery swapping service established in 1896 solved this problem.

Hartford Electric Light Company implemented this idea through utilizing the General Vehicle Company battery service. People bought their vehicles from General Vehicle Company with an exception of batteries. Afterwards, they would purchase electricity from Hartford Electric in batteries that were exchangeable.

However, there was a monthly charge for miles covered, some fee for monthly maintenance of the car as well as its proper storage. A similar service took over and served owners of the Milburn Light Electric vehicles in Chicago state who bought cars with an exception of batteries.

Hybrid vehicles

A hybrid vehicle is one that utilizes more than one power means for propulsion. Vehicle manufacturers applied the concept to hybrid electric vehicles that combine one or more than one electric motor with an internal combustion engine (Ehsani, Yimin, Sebastien and Emadi 2004).

The history of these cars dates back in the year 1899, a time when Dr. Ferdinand Porsche built a hybrid car that moved as a result of the gas engine that propelled an electricity generating dynamo that in turn used energy to move the electric motors in the central part of the two wheels in front. However, in the following decades, the hybrid car has undergone numerous advancements that include the invention of a generative braking.

This idea works in modern hybrid cars. The Porsche car went through some modification in 1915 when Woods Motor Vehicle Manufacturers developed a double-powered hybrid car (Anderson and Judy, 2010). This car used an electric battery to drive the engine at a reduced pace of 25 km/h, and utilize gasoline engine to propel the car from a reduced speed to a maximum pace of 55 km/h.

The period between 1920 and 1965 was an inactive period in terms of enormous hybrid car production. The US Congress endorsed extensive use of the electric vehicles as one of the sure ways of air pollution reduction in 1966. A major improvement on the engine took place between 1968 and 1971 where three scientists invented a hybrid power engine.

The engine adversely improved the speed of a vehicle with a relatively smaller engine that a conventional internal combustion engine needs in order to move. The ideas brought together in the system are inevitable in today’s hybrids.

In 1975, 352 electric vehicles got tested and as a result, the US Energy Research Development Administration created a program for promoting the hybrid technology. In 1976, the Public Law of 94/413 became effective on the electric hybrid vehicles.

The key objective of the law was to collaborate with the car firms, and advance the accessories of the electric vehicles such as batteries and controllers. This is the period that Toyota developed the first electric hybrid that had a gas-generating turbine providing power to an electric motor.

A lot of research took place in the period between 1977 and 1979. Research works aimed at improving the quality of the hybrid electric vehicles. A report on reasonable production of hybrid vehicles in the mid 1980s was a hint. The discovery of another engine took place in the early 1980s.

Briggs and Stratton car firm assembled a hybrid automobile with a double cylinder of a four-stroke 16 hp gasoline engine, and an electric motor with a maximum of 26 horse power. This engine had a capacity to supply power to a double door car traditionally designed with two front wheels and four back ones (Ehsani, 2005).

In 1989, Audi launched a 12.6 horse power of an electric engine that moved the back wheels in the place of the propeller shaft. The engine also had a 2.3 liter cylinder that powered the front wheel and a nickel-cadmium battery providing the necessary energy.

In 1991, the United States Advanced Battery Consortium, a department concerned with energy program, organized programs for manufacturing excellent batteries made of nickel hydride. These batteries would see worthwhile hybrid electric vehicles serving on the roads on all weather. In the following year, Toyota Motors Corporation spelt its objectives to produce vehicles with reduced emissions.

In 1993, the US government called for enormous manufacture of vehicles utilizing other power sources other than gasoline. This initiative saw several government agencies teaming up with Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. This combined force resulted to production of vehicles utilizing other power sources, in addition to hybrid electric cars.

Modern hybrid vehicles

Modern hybrid vehicles may prove to be much more sophisticated than the earlier version hybrid. However, the primary principle is similar in all modern vehicles. Modern hybrid vehicles operate through the generative braking system. This system is efficient at changing the energy in motion into electric energy restoring power in the battery, instead of having it escape as heat.

This invention has played a vital role in hybrid vehicles. Some modern HEVs lessen disengaged emissions through closing internal combustion engine and igniting it when necessary. HVPs have significantly reduced emissions, unlike their gasoline counterpart. The HEVs economize fuel due to their small-sized engines as opposed to pure gasoline combustion vehicle (Ehsani, Yimin, Sebastien and Emadi 2004).

Current hybrid

The current version of hybrid technically referred to as green vehicles are relatively high-powered and fuel efficient. They have a high, reduced rate of fuel utilization. Although their prices are intimidating, they are appropriate for city drivers due to their acceptable gas mileage especially in a move-and-halt traffic.

These cars have a low level of emissions at reduced speed, and also are less noisy, unlike their internal combustion counterpart. Examples current hybrid cars include the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado, Cadillac Escalade, 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe, 2011 Ford Escape, 2011 GMC Sierra, 2012 Honda Civic, and 2011 Lexus CT 200H among many more.

Future hybrid

Current hybrid cars are a reflection of the future version that people around the globe anticipate. Designers of the current version of hybrid are contemplating on what design is next for the future hybrid vehicle. Globally, car firms have their plans of launching hybrid vehicle underway.

These companies have the challenges of considering factors such as performance, emissions, and efficiency. The future hybrid will assume all types that currently exist ranging from sports cars, sports utility vehicles and other varieties of vehicle will utilize both gas and energy (Motavalli, 2001).

Maintenance is a critical issue in developments of these future hybrids. Manufacturers will have to process new spare parts for future hybrid models, and on the same note, mechanics should have the new technology so as to gain knowledge of replacing parts that breakdown.

The future hybrid will be much more powerful to enhance performance and fuel efficiency. Certainly, the car designers will build them lighter than the current version to enhance fuel efficiency. Engineers will have to team up to develop solar cells that will restore power to vehicle batteries; thus, eliminating the process of charging batteries in hybrid vehicles (Duffy, 2009).

In the future, designers of hybrid cars will have to look at the emission capacity. They will have to build vehicles with much more reduced rate of emission as the current emissions are doing harm to the atmosphere. There is a possibility the future hybrid may utilize Hydrogen power as opposed to the power sources in use today.

The future design of the hybrid vehicles will prove more sophisticated than today’s design, as the designers of today are working to see that the future design is a success. With technological advancement, any future developments of the hybrid vehicles are possible.

Modern vehicles and Emission

Many industry studies show that improved vehicle fuel efficiency has resulted into a drop of CO2 emissions. According to Motor Industry Association (MIA), the National Average Carbon Emission (NACE) for new vehicles of 2011 had a figure of CO2 emission below 200 grams to 197.1 grams for the first time (Motor Industry Association, 2012). This represented a drop of 2.3 percent from the previous year.

The effort among to reduce CO2 emission among vehicle manufacturers started more than five years ago. The average drop of CO2 emission has been 10 percent. Most new passenger vehicles form part of this calculation. Thus, the figures presented are representative in calculating the CO2 measures. The drop is due to enhanced vehicles technology among main manufacturers in the world.

The main is to meet CO2 emissions in target markets that include the US, Europe, Australia, and other emerging economies. Consumers have also changed their purchasing habits to march the environmental requirements. This has improved due to government subsidies, especially in Europe where the government facilitate the purchase of environmental friendly cars by subsidizing the costs.

Most of these achievements are as a result of carbon trading scheme that aims at reducing the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere. The target has been on the transport sector for long-term agenda on reduction.

These achievements from new vehicles show that manufacturers of motor vehicles are playing their roles of combating environmental degradation, reducing greenhouse emission, and pollutions from motor vehicles. Such efforts do not involve government interventions or regulations but are rather technological breakthroughs in vehicle manufacturing.


Anderson, C. and Judy A. (2010). Electric and Hybrid Cars: A History. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Bellis, M. (2012). History of Electric Vehicles: The Early Years, Electric Cars from 1830 to 1930. The Invetors, 1, 1-4.

Daniels, J. (2003). Driving Force: The Evolution of the Car Engine. Tennessee: Haynes Manuals Inc.

Duffy, J. E. (2009). Modern Automotive Technology, (7th ed.). Illinois: Goodheart- Willcox Co.

Ehsani, M. (2005). Modern Electric, Hybrid Electric, And Fuel Cell Vehicles: Fundamentals, Theory, And Design. New York: CRC Press.

Ehsani, M., Yimin G., Sebastien, E. and Ali, E. (2004). Modern Electronic, Hybrid Electric, and Fuel Cell Vehicles: Fundamentals Thoery and Design. New York: CRC Press.

Junge, F. E. (2010). Gas power;: A study of the evolution of gas power, the design and construction of large gas engines in Europe, the application of gas power to various the rational utilization of low grade fuels. Jacksonville, FL : Hill Pub. Co.

Motavalli, J. (2001). Forward Drive: The Race to Build “Clean” Cars for the Future. San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books.

Motor Industry Association. (2012). New Vehicle CO2 Emissions Continue Reducing. New Zealand: MIA.

Westbrook, M. H. (2001). The Electric Car: Development and Future of Battery, Hybrid and Fuel-Cell Cars. New York: Institution of Electrical Engineers.

This essay on The Evolution of the Car Engine was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper

Select a website referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2020, January 22). The Evolution of the Car Engine. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-evolution-of-the-car-engine-essay/

Work Cited

"The Evolution of the Car Engine." IvyPanda, 22 Jan. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/the-evolution-of-the-car-engine-essay/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Evolution of the Car Engine." January 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-evolution-of-the-car-engine-essay/.


IvyPanda. "The Evolution of the Car Engine." January 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-evolution-of-the-car-engine-essay/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "The Evolution of the Car Engine." January 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-evolution-of-the-car-engine-essay/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Evolution of the Car Engine'. 22 January.

More related papers
Psst... Stuck with your
assignment? 😱
Psst... Stuck with your assignment? 😱
Do you need an essay to be done?
What type of assignment 📝 do you need?
How many pages (words) do you need? Let's see if we can help you!