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Green Transportation Careers

History

Many people believe that the first motorized vehicles were powered by petroleum and diesel engines. In fact, electricity and steam were favored power sources for early vehicles in the late 1800s. This technology can be traced back to the Dutch inventor Sibrandus Stratingh, who designed a steam-driven vehicle in 1834, which he tested on the streets of Groningen, Holland. The Provincial Groninger Courant reported the following on March 25, 1834 (according to the University of Groningen): "In the early hours of this morning, 22 March, the first test journey was made by messrs Stratingh and Becker on their steam vehicle, which made a journey through the city’s undulating and curving streets with a positive result. The designers were so happy with the test that they feel that some small improvements will enable the vehicle to not only travel over new stone and rock roads, but also the bumpier cobbled streets, without problem." In 1835, Stratingh developed an electric cart that is considered the forerunner of the electric car.

In the following years, scientists and inventors experimented with Stratingh’s electric cart and developed passenger vehicles that were powered by rechargeable batteries. These vehicles were not practical since they moved at slow speeds. During this time, steam locomotive technology was also developed.

Electric and steam engines were supplanted by petroleum and diesel engines in the early 20th century. Henry Ford created the Model T, which could travel faster and farther than electric cars. It also cost half the price of an electric car. These developments caused research on electric cars to decline.

Research on green vehicles began again in the 1950s and 1960s with the development of microcars by Vespa and Austin-Healey.

Interest in green vehicles spiked during the 1970s as a result of the oil crisis. Scientists and researchers began conducting extensive research on alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies that were more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly.   

Today, green vehicles have become increasingly popular as a result of the same concerns that people had in the 1970s: an interest in energy independence, fuel efficiency, and protecting the environment. 

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