Hug a tree in memory of Dr. Victor Wouk, who died last month. In 1971 Dr. Wouk received an EPA grant to develop a hybrid car, along with a promise to fund a larger project if it met spec. Dr. Wouk had decided years earlier that all-electric cars were impractical because of the size of the batteries and had been looking for alternatives. He replaced the V-8 in a Buick Skylark with a Mazda rotary engine, electric motors, batteries and regenerative brakes. It met the strictest emission standards, got 30 MPG and hit 85 MPH. For reasons never explained, the EPA declined to follow through and only one was built. When the Prius came out in the states in 2001, Dr. Wouk proudly got one of the first.