"Exxon’s ambitious work on powering clean vehicles 40 years ago parallels its cutting-edge research on climate change during the same era."
"Reeling from oil crises of the 1970s, the American auto industry grappled with tough new mileage standards they feared could make their gas guzzlers obsolete. In 1978, Exxon presented manufacturers with a novel solution from its own labs: a device to help power the electric motors of hybrid vehicles.
"The future of the full-sized car was questionable—until now," according to a glossy brochure Exxon printed for the pitch. Exxon said its technology "is not in developmental stages; it is ready now. The prototype has been engineered, tested, driven, proven."
Exxon by then was at least four years into pioneering research to find alternatives to gasoline-powered cars, driven by worries that petroleum would soon run out. The company had already unveiled the first rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which it thought could be a precursor of batteries for electric vehicles. Now, Exxon hoped its new electric drive technology could make mass production of hybrids feasible."