BMW i8 Concept live photos, 2011 Frankfurt Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
We sometimes wonder if, back at the dawn of the motor car, sides were as divided between traditional horse and carts and cars, as they are today with regular fossil-fuelled vehicles and those harbingers of doom, hybrids and electric cars.
Almost certainly, we suspect. Initially slower and noisier, we're sure there were arguments about whether exhaust fumes or a horse pooping in the street was worse pollution, or if the new technology would really catch on.
Of course it did in the end, and we're sure electric cars will eventually go the same way. Hybrids have been gaining in popularity for many years now. What you may not realise is how much hybrids and electric cars are contributing to the tech in your everyday vehicles.
Speaking with T3.com
, head of product marketing for Vauxhall (GM's U.K. brand) Stuart Harris has said that electric cars are pioneering new in-car technologies for their fossil-fuelled counterparts.
"Electric cars are actually more evolved than petrol cars in terms of in-car technology... Purchasers of electric cars are techy, they like all the little gadgets and features.”
Those gadgets include the smartphone connections and apps found in an increasing number of modern cars, as well as little efficiency displays, first seen in cars like the Prius and now a feature in many others. Electronic displays are big in electric cars - the Chevrolet Volt makes use of two of them.
There have been contributions in other areas too, such as electrically-driven pumps for power steering, air conditioning and other gadgets to improve efficiency, regenerative braking to harness electricity every time you lose speed and increasing the popularity of stop-start technology.
The trend should continue into the future too. BMW previewed laser lighting technology
on its two electric concept cars, the i3 city car concept and i8 petrol-electric sports car.
We're sure the first motor cars, once they became popular, made life easy for your average horse - it went from a hard-working nag to a creature of leisure.
With the technology crossover between electric cars and regular vehicles making driving better for everyone, it looks like history is repeating itself...