Think hybrid vehicles like the Prius and Volt are new? Well, they are new to us, but the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid was created in 1901, making it over 110 years old. At the time, it probably was called a ‘horseless carriage’ and weighed about 3,300 pounds.
The Lohner-Porsche Hybrid used a power configuration similar to today’s Chevy Volt, in that it employed a generator which ran on gasoline to create electricity. The small internal combustion engine used as a generator was made by Daimler. Electric motors near the wheel hubs were powered by this electricity. The vehicle’s top speed was about 37 mph.
For a turn-of-the-century vehicle, this was moving swiftly, if you consider 37.5 mph was about the average speed when Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes. Safety features on horseless carriages in 1901 couldn’t have been that extensive, and city streets would have been crowded with horse-drawn carriages and pedestrians, so it might have been dangerous to go that fast. Today’s version of this ground-breaking hybrid might be the Porsche Cayenne S. It costs almost $70,000, supposedly gets 24 mpg, and has a top speed of 150 mph.
Austrian Dr. Ferdinand Porsche was the designer and builder of the Mixte and he was only about 24 at the time. He drove one of his hybrids in the Exelberg Rally of 1901 and finished in first place. In the early 1930s, he went on to found Volkswagen and Porsche motor companies. At one point, he was contracted by Hitler to make vehicles and even tanks for the Nazis.
Of course, today, Porsche is an iconic car brand known for making some of the fastest and most attractive vehicles in the world.
For a similar story, check out “Disabled Millionaire Spearheaded Hybrid Car To Pursue Driving Pleasure.”
Image Credit: Public Domain
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