The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Victor Wouk, Called the Father of the Modern Hybrid Car, Dies in New York at Age 86

June 21, 2005

NEW YORK – Victor Wouk, an electrical engineer and entrepreneur who developed the first full-size version of the modern hybrid car, has died. He was 86. Wouk died of cancer at his New York City home on May 19, his son Jordan told the Los Angeles Times for a story in Sunday's edition. Described as the father of modern hybrid automobile programs, Wouk held more than 10 patents, most of them related to hybrid and electric vehicles. In the early 1970s, he formed his own com-pany, Petro-Electric Motors, to develop a hybrid vehicle for the federal government. Wouk said his work was spurred by the Clean Air Act, passed by Congress in 1970, which called for the development of a car engine that could eliminate 90 percent of the pollutants then being emitted by engines. Wouk and friends invested about $300,000 into the project and he and a partner, Charles Rosen, modified a 1972 Buick Skylark with a rotary engine and an electric motor that supplied peak power when needed. The car proved effective in independent lab tests. It met the strictest emission standards, got 30 miles to a gallon of gas and its top speed was 85 mph. Nevertheless, it failed the Environmental Protection Agency's tests. Petro-Electric folded in the 1970s and Wouk became a consultant and remained a booster for hy-brid cars. He believed Toyota's 1997 introduction of a gasoline-electric car was affirmation of his life's work, said son Jordan. Besides Jordan, Wouk is survived his wife of 63 years, Joy; his brother, the novelist Herman Wouk; another son, Jonathan, and a grandson.
Twitter Facebook Google+


Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:

Fleet Incentives

Determine the actual cost of owning and running a vehicle in your fleet. Compare vehicles by class and model.


Fleet Faq Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Todd Ewing from Fleetmatics will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fleet Management And Leasing

Merchants Experts will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Sponsored by

Vehicle pricing discounts on specific vehicles offered by the automakers.

Read more

Fuel Saving Strategies Survey

View our 2008 survey to benchmark your fleet's fuel and green strategies with other fleets.

Fuel Calculator

A managed fuel program can help you save time and money and gain control over the way you fuel your vehicles. Determine your potential savings by using our fuel calculator.
Launch Fuel Calculator 

Fuel Prices

U.S. Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Prices.

Launch Fuel Prices 

Up Next

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher