How Ferdinand Porsche Sort of Invented the Chevy Volt Back in 1898
This one is a stretch, but stick with us and maybe it’ll make sense…Somewhat.
In 1898, Ferdinand Porsche developed what would become known as the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid. This was Mr. Ferdinand’s first attempt at a hybrid vehicle and, in some ways, a technological success.
The Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid used 4 hub-mounted electric motors for motivation. Those motors were powered by batteries, which could be recharged by the vehicle’s gas generator. Sound sort of like a Chevy Volt?
Mr. Ferdinand’s first attempt at this was a pure electric. When he wasn’t satisfied with the range, he went the extended-range route by dropping that gas generator in there.
Technology in 1898 was nowhere near where it is today, so as expected, the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid wasn’t exactly what Porsche had envisioned.
The finished vehicle required 1.8 tons of lead-acid batteries to meet Mr. Ferdinand’s requirements. The vehicle itself tipped the scales at over 8,000 pounds.
The hub-mounted electric motors could only put out 7 hp and each of them weighed 1,280 pounds.
Total horsepower was listed at a measly 56 and its cost was an astronomical 15,000 Austrian Crowns. We won’t even try to convert that to US dollars today. Instead, we’ll say that only the most elite of the elite could afford one back then and only two were ever sold, despite it being considered a masterpiece by most with automotive knowledge back in those days.
Needless to say, the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid never caught on. It was a century ahead of its time and Mr. Ferdinand knew that, but his efforts led to several other attempts at perfecting the extended-range technology, which today is seen in the Chevy Volt (minus the hub-mounted motors).
Oh, here’s one more shocking fact that we almost overlooked: Ferdinand Porsche was only 18 when he developed the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid…18!!!