Only when truly challenged do great inventions happen. In this timeline, history makes the case for Europe's politicians to ensure car companies build cleaner cars, to protect our common future.
Environmental concerns have brought us unleaded petrol, hybrid engines, catalytic converters and electric cars that can travel at 200 mph. ;xNLx;;xNLx;And 20 years ago Greenpeace created the SMILE a fuel efficient car whose technology carmakers stil haven’t equalled in their mass production cars.;xNLx;;xNLx;With climate change set to become the greatest challenge that humanity will face this century, now it's the turn of Europe's politicians to make car companies build cleaner cars, by voting for strong car efficiency regulations.
Invention of the diesel engine
Diesel technology is probably the most important milestone for fuel-efficient engines. In competition with the gasoline engine, diesel technology has had to improve over the years.
Carl Benz invents the automobile
Carl Benz is the first to patent the idea of a petrol-fuelled automobile. One of his great-grandchildren told the German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche, that his wife's pressure made him successful. At the time of this invention and patent, she was already the mother of their three children and was invested in his company.
The very first drive
Bertha Benz, in an effort to popularise her husband's invention, took the very first public drive in an automobile, in one of the Newly Constructed Patent Motorwagen automobiles-from Mannheim to Pforzheim, with her sons Richard and Eugen. She did this without telling her husband and without permission of the Authorities. But she helped make the car popular. Many people at this time were afraid of using cars. Her pressure helped sway public opinion of the time.
Invention of the first hybrid engine
Shaking up the market, Ferdinand Porsche invents the Lohne-Porsche Mixte Hybrid - the first hybrid engine - at the age of 18.
Ford Model T goes into production
Seeking to bring the motor car to the masses, Henry Ford produced the Model T. It had a 20-horsepower, four-cylinder engine, reached a top speed of about 45 miles per hour, covered 13-21 mpg and weighed 544 kg.
First car with fuel injection hits the market
The first production cars with direct fuel injection was released on the market: the Gutbrod Superior and Goliath GP 700 E sports coupe.
Prototype for catalytic converters is invented
Eugene Houdry invents the oxidation catalyst as a solution to the smog in Los Angeles at the time. Houdry was worried about the impact of car emissions on air pollution and founded a special company, the Oxy-Catalyst Company, which was to develop catalytic converters for gasoline engines. This idea was far ahead of its time.
First time a car hits 1000km/h
As man seeks to go faster and faster on land, the rocket car "Blue Flame" tops 1000 km/h in Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA.
Invention of the 3-way catalytic converter
Rising concerns over air pollution and environmental degradation lead John J. Mooney and Carl D. Keith to develop and introduce the 3-way catalytic converter. It was seen as a sign that the hazards of modern technology could be kept under control.
Debut of articulate filter in road cars
Due to concerns over pollution, Mercedes-Benz is the first to introduce particulate filters in its S-Class (W 126 series) for the U.S. market.