The evolution of the car

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.

1779-01-01 01:43:14

Invention of first steam powered road vehicle

To help the French army haul cannons, French military engineer Nicolas Cugnot invents the first steam powered road vehicle, using a steam engine and a 3 wheeled cart. Popular belief states it moved at walking speed.

1882-01-03 12:58:21

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.

1886-01-29 12:58:21

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.

1888-01-03 12:58:21

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.

1901-01-03 12:58:21

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.

1908-10-01 12:58:21

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.

1938-01-01 12:58:21

Invention of the VW Beetle

The Beetle was designed by Ferdinand Porsche with the intention of being a simple and economic car that would appeal to a wide audience. It has fulfilled that role and gone on to be one of the world's most popular and memorable automobiles.

1951-01-01 12:58:21

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.

1956-01-01 12:58:21

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.

1970-10-23 12:58:21

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.

1981-01-01 12:58:21

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.

1983-01-01 12:58:21

Forest destruction prompts unleaded petrol introduction

Reacting to the destruction of forests, the German federal government decided to force the introduction of unleaded petrol engines in new cars.

1985-01-01 12:58:21

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.

1985-01-01 12:58:21

German government rolls out catalytic converters

The German government worked hard to support the rollout of 3-way catalytic converters through tax incentives and via a ban on petrol-powered cars without catalyst regulators. With the European Directive 91/441/EEC (Euro 1), which was effective for new types of passenger cars from 1993 and for all newly registered passenger cars from 1992, all new passenger car models with petrol engines had to be equipped with this technology.

1995-01-01 12:58:21

Greenpeace unveils the fuel efficient SMILE car

Greenpeace surprised the car industry by unveiling a car more fuel efficient than any on the roads at the time. A converted Renault Twingo, the SMILE shows big car companies that a fuel efficient 3 litre engine is realistic. Even today in 2013, carmakers have still not produced a road car which equals its fuel efficiency.

1997-01-01 12:58:21

Toyota unveils the Prius

Toyota, seeking to make individual travel fit for the future, presents the Prius. It is the first mass production hybrid road car.

2000-01-01 12:58:21

Peugeot competition influences German carmakers

Peugeot equips the first time in his model 607 with particulate filter; This puts pressure on the German car industry and the goverment. First, the german car industry doesn`t like to introduce the filter in all new cars. After discussions with politics and the car lobby, particulate filters are now standard. It is proven, that soot particles causes cancer

2003-01-01 12:58:21

London starts congestion charge to cut pollution

British politicians wanting to reduce pollution in London and ease levels of road traffic introduced this law, motivating people to use public transportation instead of cars.

2007-01-01 12:58:21

Honda creates first production-ready hydrogen car

In response to concerns about the world's finite supply of oil, Honda reveals the first production-ready hydrogen car: the FCX Clarity.

2008-01-01 12:58:21

Europe introduces first law to limit car CO2

After the car industry does not comply with a voluntary commitment to limit CO2 emissions in new cars, the EU introduces its first law to do this.

2008-01-01 12:58:21

Germany introduces zones to reduce pollution

The German government, after receiving requests from hotels, restaurants, tourist associations and others concerned about pollution, introduces 'Environmental Zones'. Only cars with certificates based on their green credentials are allowed to travel in these areas.

2013-02-20 12:58:21

VW commits to strong CO2 emissions cuts

After 2 years of campaigning and more than half a million people take action to put pressure on them, Volkswagen - Europe's biggest carmaker - agrees to make strong CO2 cuts across its entire new car fleet. Two years previously the company once said these targets were "impossible." Now it says that it can and will meet them "with no ifs or buts."

2013-03-01 12:58:21

VW presents the 1-liter car

As the world became more concerned with pollution, VW unveiled the first 1-litre car: the L1. It could travel 100km on 1 litre of petrol.

2013-06-25 12:58:21

New electric world land speed record

Wanting to highlight the potential of electric vehicle technology, Paul Drayson breaks the electric world land speed record in his Lola B12 69/EV vehicle. The car hit a top speed of 204.2mph (328.6km/h). Drayson said: "By setting this new world record...it is a pointer to the future - the technology that we developed for this car will filter down to the cars we use every day." Among those at the track on the day were Google's Eric Schmidt. Google, among others, is investing heavily in electric transport as an R&D project.

2013-07-27 12:58:21

EU fails to pass clean car law

Despite more CO2 in the atmosphere today than in the last 3 million years, Germany postpones a vote on a law they have already weakened. Influenced by BMW and Daimler, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel gets most of Europe to postpone a vote on a law they have already watered down to favour polluting cars. The future is unclear for this set of regulations, which could have cut new car CO2 in half by 2025, saved 17.3 billion barrels of oil, created 1.1 million jobs across Europe and saved consumers 400 euros a year in driving costs.

2014-09-01 12:58:21

Electric Formula Car racing will launch

The FIA will launch the first electric car championship in 2014. The EU has applauded this move in helping to make electric cars more popular. Competitors will include Nissan and in 2015, Drayson racing. The 7 locations for races will include London, Rome, Miami, Beijing and Rio de Janeiro.

The evolution of the car

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