Hybrid cars are all the rage these days. The negative impact of automotive fuels on the environment, coupled with the high price of gas, has made many drivers turn to gas and electric hybrids as a greener, more fuel-efficient method of transportation. But did you know that possibly the world’s first hybrid automobile was developed in Peabody?
Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, Peabody entered the automotive industry when the Corwin Manufacturing Company in South Peabody started building engines for Buick. The Corwin Manufacturing Company’s main claim to fame, however, was the Gas-Au-Lec automobile. Introduced in 1905, the Gas-Au-Lec was truly ahead of its time, a gas and electric hybrid that could also start without being cranked, unlike other cars of the day. The Gas-Au-Lec was heralded as the car that would put Peabody on the map of the automotive industry. Sadly, this was not to be the case. The Gas-Au-Lec was prone to engine problems, and the much-needed backing for development never materialized. If it had not been for the engine problems, the Gas-Au-Lec could possibly have established Peabody as one of the leaders of the automotive industry. Instead, many early automotive pioneers in Peabody left to follow the industry.