Trace Skoda’s Car Starter Evolution

Starting a Car: Challenging and Hazardous Task
A brief history of car starting. From the handle to Kessy

Michal Velebny, the Restoration Workshops Supervisor at the Skoda Museum, explains in the video that starting a car is comparable to a machine awakening. Subsequently, he takes us through the development of the car starter using a few classic cars in the museum’s assortment.

The procedure for commencing a 1905 Laurin & Klement Voiturette was intricate involving five stages antecedent to rotating the crank. It entailed unlocking the brass petroleum nozzle, transferring the electrical spark plug progression lever to get started, changing the hand throttle, rotating a key to start the electrical current, and guaranteeing that the gear lever was in neutral. Only then could you turn the crank, which necessitated force and an understanding of the motor’s pressure period.

Hand cranks were notorious for causing a lot of injuries, so they were phased out in favor of electric starters by the early 1920s. Laurin & Klement cars of that era featured a “toggle starter” which used a mechanical device such as a switch or pedal to engage the starter. This process was much simpler and safer than the hand crank, and didn’t require the driver to step out of the car. There were still other steps involved, such as turning on the fuel tap and setting the choke, but it was a much more efficient and secure method.

For Skoda, the momentous transformation came with the emergence of the S 1000/1000 MB in 1964, the first car which was activated via a key. The combination of switching on the motor and initiating the starter became customary for approximately 60 years. Further advancements were soon to follow, such as mechanical and electronic chokes as replacements for manual methods.

Keys have gone through numerous transformations as time has passed. At the beginning, they were simple and small, so they could be recreated or forged with relative ease. Subsequently, Skoda switched to single-sided keys, which made it harder to replicate. As time progressed, double-sided keys emerged and offered increased safety. This invention proceeded to keys that featured integrated electronic immobilizers and subsequently key fobs for convenient and keyless entry and ignition.

In the year 2010, Skoda initiated their KESSY keyless system for their superior Superb vehicle. This pioneering technology enabled drivers to forego having to bring their keys and rather simply press a starter button. This subsequently paved the way for the starting process employed today in Skoda’s electric cars, which is even simpler; no push-button needed – all one has to do is enter, and off they go!

Source: Skoda via YouTube

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