A great future was attributed to the Czechoslovak designer’s invention. The plans were ruined by the crisis and the war, he was finally killed by the Gestapo.

The National Digital Library has recently published an interesting article, which was originally published on April 17, 1930. It is the first impressions of driving an electric (more correctly, hybrid) car by Czechoslovak inventor Josef Sousedík. He was born on 18 December 1894 in Vsetín, after studying at a civil and municipal school, he trained as a mechanical locksmith and electrical fitter at the Thonet and Bubel factories. At the end of 1919, he opened his own electrical engineering business, which over time became a modern enterprise with more than 350 employees.

In total, Sousedík registered 50 patents valid all over the world, he was characterized by diligence, tenacity and original ideas. One of them was a hybrid car based on the Tatra 57, which he constructed in the late 1930s. This unique testimony (in the original wording and in the language of the time) of a car ride comes from the magazine Polední list:

80 km in an electric car – the vehicle of the near future

“We get into a car that doesn’t yet have a body. Test car. I expect the usual roar of the engine, but we drive freely and easily without hearing any engine noise. The car drives easily and completely noiselessly on the road. A strange feeling for a person used to the roar of an explosive engine.

On the road outside the city, the driver of this car increases speed. We drive, as the speedometer shows, at a speed of 70-80 km/h. My astonishment increases when I see that the driver controls the speed of the car with just the thumb of the hand holding the steering wheel. There is a small lever on the steering wheel that, when moved, changes the gears. The car has 6 forward and reverse speeds! No more is needed to drive the car.

It is an electric car – a vehicle of the nearest future, an invention of Josef Sousedík from Vsetín, whose invention we were already dreaming about yesterday and the day before yesterday.

The car has many advantages over cars with explosive engines. It significantly reduces operating costs, simplifies operation and is completely reliable in operation. The principle of economy consists in the fact that all four wheels are driven by separate special motors of a patented design, characterized by the fact that they have a serial characteristic not only in the drive as motors, but also as generators, which are excellent for charging the accumulators when driving downhill, as well as for reducing the speed and stopping the car. The energy that is used to accelerate the mass of the entire car is mostly stored in the accumulators during stopping with the help of the mentioned patent electric motors. battery back.

The construction in the consistent drive of all 4 wheels enables 100% use of the adhesion of the weight, enables driving even up the steepest hill, on ice, in snow, without chains, etc. Great economy is achieved by the fact that there are no mechanical brakes at all, which eliminates a lot of wear and tear, and on the other hand, by the fact that this car only needs a tiny explosive engine, with a performance of about one third (6-8 HP) after supplying the energy of the arithmetic average of the total consumption, while the battery pack supplies current for peak performance when driving uphill or starting the car.

Stability is extraordinarily increased by the fact that the center of gravity and the entire reconstruction is much lower, and since all 4 wheels are electrically connected, they all have exactly the same moment both when engaging and when braking, so that a skid cannot occur as with previous cars. It is started using a dynamo from the battery, so it is very convenient. The great advantage of this solution is that there is no idling and the explosive motor works if it is always switched on with full load and the same revolutions.

Another great advantage of the Neighbor’s electric car is that the explosive motorcycle can be driven in such a way that the city is driven only on the battery (that is, noiselessly, without smoke and smell).

In serial production, lower prices are achieved than for previous cars and especially low for folk cars. It is indisputable that with the serial production of these cars here in Czechoslovakia, we would gain a huge automotive industry. However, it seems that the Neighbors car production company will be set up abroad. After all, we will talk about it, as well as some other inventions of Sousedík and his plans for the future, next time.

Josef Sousedík – the Czech Edison – worked on the electric car for two years. Now the car of the future is ready. It is only necessary to give the car a definitive economic shape based on tests. This will happen in the fall of tr and the inventor will ride it from Vsetín via Prague to England. On that occasion, perhaps Prague and in general the places where the car will go, will have the opportunity to see an electric car that moves noiselessly.

Hopefully, in the coming years, these cars will appear in droves on our streets and roads, and with their ability to brake quickly, they will reduce the number of automobile accidents and misfortunes that are quite threatening today.”

As you can see, a great future was attributed to this invention – according to available information, the car needed only four liters of fuel per hundred kilometers. Its internal combustion engine powered a dynamo, from which energy went through a regulator to hub electric motors on each wheel, with a battery connected between the dynamo and the regulator. In the original report from the drive, you must have noticed that the car was capable of recuperation and, in principle, actually functioned like any modern hybrid.

The first Czech motorist loved long-distance drives.  Baron von Liebieg also produced cars

Josef Sousedík will be discussed in a separate article – the plans for the production of a hybrid car were disrupted by the global economic crisis, during which his company was transferred to the Ringhoffer-Tatra concern, where this brilliant designer worked as a director until 1939, when he joined the plant banned by the Nazis. Even so, he worked on other projects, for example, he had ready a series version of an electric car with a modern design. He hid his inventions from the occupiers to prevent them from falling into unauthorized hands. During the war he was a prominent figure in the resistance in Wallachia, in 1944 he was prosecuted by the Gestapo, who murdered him during interrogation on 15 December. The communists did not forget to thoroughly trample on his legacy.