Many car company CEOs have said that the future lies not in electric cars but in hybrid vehicles. Well, at least for now. But should it be surprising? Probably not, because hybrid-powered cars have the advantages of two types of machines.

If needed, the car can drive on the road using only electricity, which is very handy when rubbing asphalt in a city or a traffic jam.

An internal combustion engine can have its moments when driving out of town. This engine allows the hybrid vehicle to drive until the fuel tank is empty.

To some, the hybrid drive seems to be a newly discovered technology. Many consider Toyota to be the pioneer of hybrid cars since it introduced the popular Prius in 1997.

Indeed, the largest automaker in the world has made a significant contribution to the promotion and development of the hybrid drive. But the person behind this idea was born well before Toyota, or even many other carmakers. The first hybrid car was built much earlier, not even 40 or 60 years ago.

Meet Armstrong Phaeton, the first hybrid car to appear in 1896. Armstrong Phaeton was created at the initiative of an extremely talented and skilful engineer, Harry E Dey. This man devoted his entire life to creating an electric vehicle suitable for everyday use.

1896 Armstrong Phaeton © Bonhams

1896 Armstrong Phaeton © Bonhams

Harry E Dey believed that electric vehicles have a bright future. However, like many others, he has faced the biggest problem with electric cars, which is the fact that batteries are running out of power and the technology is not able to keep up.

Harry E Dey created his first electric car in 1895. The concept of a quiet and environmentally friendly vehicle soon found an abundance of fans, which was like a huge burst of motivation for the executive of a newly established company.

1896 Armstrong Phaeton © Bonhams

1896 Armstrong Phaeton © Bonhams

Soon, the talent and interesting ideas of Mr Harry E Dey were noticed by Roger Mechanical Carriage Company, which sold Roger-Benz cars under a license from Benz & Cie (now Daimler) in France.

When Emile Roger (founder of the company) finally realized that the United States had enormous potential, he went to many exotic-sounding countries. There, he began looking for partners who could improve the carriage to the American needs. And what do you think? Harry E Dey was one of those entrusted with the task of refining the success recipe of Roger Mechanical Carriage Company.

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