Electric and hybrid cars are seen as the way forward in car manufacturing, with the emphasis being on finding greener ways to travel. Yet you may be surprised to hear that back in 1898, Porsche was already way ahead of the game!

The manufacturer better known for its luxury sports cars, has revealed the first car designed by its founder, and guess what: it was electric!

Displayed at a show in the Porsche museum in Germany, the C.2 Phaeton model or P1 for short, was designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built in 1898. It was recently discovered in an Austrian garage, where it had been left in storage since 1902.

Porsche Electric 1898

Ferdinand Porsche was commissioned to build the car by Ludwig Lohner, owner of the car making firm Jacob Lohner. Lohner was convinced that use of a horse and carriage was coming to an end and asked Porsche to design an electric drive train.

He came up with an “octagonal electric motor”, powered by electric batteries it was suspended among shock absorbers, which sat at the rear of the vehicle. With a top speed of 34km/h, the P1 was driven using a 12-speed controller; six gears to move forward, two to reverse and four to brake.

Porsche electric 1898

The P1 not only took to the road as a standard vehicle but actually entered and won a Berlin road race, crossing the finish line eighteen minutes before the car that came second. As well as coming first in the race, the P1 also won the distinction for the vehice that cosumed the least amount of energy. Impressive!

[Image via Wired]

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25934289