|Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid|
|Body Style||Two-seater convertible|
|Weight||1500 KG (Four-seater)|
|Engine||Two/four hub-mounted electric motors, driven by petrol engine.|
With 'hybrid' technology, and 'in-wheel engines' becoming ever more prominent within the automotive industry, touted as being 'new technology', it's ironic that the concept was designed and built by Ferdinand Porsche in the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid, way back in 1901.
'From Small Acorns. . . '
At the age of 18, Ferdinand Porsche boarded a train in North Bohemia (now Czechoslovakia) headed for Vienna, and his first job with Jacob Lohner, a coachbuilder. Despite no formal engineering education, Porsche quickly drafted up plans for an abitious project, harnessing electric power. The car boasted a completely friction free drivetrain, due to the hub-mounted electric motors which negated the use of gears or driveshafts.
The car created a press whirlwind, and news travelled as far as Britain, from where Lohner received their first order for an example. However, the car, ordered by a Luton dweller, was to be majorly different from the car shown at the Paris Expo. It had to be capable of running on petrol, as well as electricity, of carrying four passengers (the demonstrator was a two-seat, low slung type) and also had to be four-wheel drive. As a result, the final product was a monster - it required 1.8 tonnes of batteries, and cost a massive 15,000 Austrian Crowns. However, the car was completed on time, and was delivered personally by Porsche. The buyer was so impressed that he purchased another, two-wheel drive example.
At the same time, the Lohner company had broken the Austrian land speed record, with the car's lightning fast top speed of 37 mph. With Porsche at the wheel, the car was victorious in a number of motorsport events, and by 1905, Porsche had won the Potting Prize as Austria's most outstanding automotive engineer. In 1906, Porsche was snapped up by Daimler-Benz as chief designer, and left Lohner coachworks for good. Jacob Lohner said, at the time: 'He is very young, but is a man with a big career before him. You will hear of him again.'
Lohner, the Company Which Grew Porsche
Lohner was a successful company, and built front-engined fire engines for Vienna, Frankfurt and London. The company also boasted the production of every single bus in Berlin at the time. On top of this, Porsche's electrical technology was utilised by Lohner to create electrical goods vans and trucks, and the company spread out to the aircraft industry, and even produced coaches for the Austrian royal family.
The Lohner-Porsche was a much-referenced design when NASA came to create the Lunar Rover for driving upon the surface of the moon, and many of the design innovations can be seen mirrored in the only car driven outwith the Earth's atmosphere. Toyota and many other major manufacturers are producing hybrid concepts and production vehicles which use Porsche's pioneering technology, and design houses are experimenting with the 'in-hub' engine layout to this day. Although produced over 100 years ago, the car has more significance than ever.
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|Ferdinand Porsche||Corporate website||A subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group|