Porsche Brings Electric Car History To Life With The P1

As I mentioned yesterday, the world of electric cars dates not back to just the last decade or so, but pretty much all the way to the dawn of the automotive era. Now one of the earliest examples of this has been rediscovered by the folks at Porsche and is being added to its collection at its museum as “a technical and historical worldwide sensation.”

The  ‘Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton model’ (known as the ‘P1’ for short), according to the automaker, was the world’s first Porsche design, dating back 116 years to 1898. Designed and built by Ferdinand Porsche, it was one of the first vehicles ever registered in Austria and took to the streets of Vienna that same year.

image via Porsche

image via Porsche

In terms of technical specifications, the Porsche P1 was very impressive for its era. Weighing just 130 kg, it offered an output of 3 hp. For short periods, up to 5 hp could be achieved in overloading mode, allowing the P1 to reach speeds of up to 22 mph (35 km/h). When driven in this manner, the vehicle speed was regulated via a 12-speed controller. The overall range of the vehicle could span up to 50 miles (80 km).

Here’s the full details from Porsche around what made this vehicle tick:

In the P1’s history before it faded into the sunset, its first practical test occurred in Berlin a year later when it was entered into a race for electric vehicles over a distance of 25 miles (40 km). It is said to been driving by Porsche himself who, with three passengers aboard, tackled challenges in the course such as gradients before crossing the finish line 18 minutes ahead of the next competitor. The car also recorded the lowest energy consumption in urban traffic.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.