January 28, 2014

World premiere of the world's first Porsche design 'P1' on the fifth anniversary of the Porsche Museum

Since the construction of the first sportscar to bear the Porsche name - the Type 356 from 1948, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG has been regarded as the world's leading sportscar manufacturer. Yet the company's history dates back to a much earlier period - In 1898,
Ferdinand Porsche presented the 'Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton model' (known as the 'P1') - the world's first Porsche design. After 116 years, the original and unrestored vehicle has been recovered and will be displayed from the beginning of February to mark the fifth anniversary of the Porsche Museum.

The 'P1' - designed and built by Ferdinand Porsche - was one of the first vehicles registered in Austria, and took to the streets of Vienna on June 26, 1898. Porsche engraved the code 'P1' (standing for Porsche, number 1) onto all of the key components, thus giving the electric vehicle its unofficial name. The sheer volume of ideas realised within this vehicle remains remarkable even today. The highly compact electric drive, weighing just 130 kg, offered an output of 3 hp. For short periods, up to 5 hp could be achieved in overloading mode, allowing the 'P1' to reach up to 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 80 km, a considerable feat for a vehicle of that period. A further innovation was the Lohner alternating vehicle body, which allowed the vehicle to be used in both summer and winter.

The first practical test awaited the 'P1' in September 1899 at the International Motor Vehicle Exhibition in the German capital of Berlin, with the announcement of a race for electric vehicles over a distance of 40 km. The route demanded a great amount of skill from the participants, who had to tackle challenges such as gradients. With three passengers on board, Ferdinand Porsche steered his 'P1' across the finish line 18 minutes ahead of the next competitor. More than half the participants failed to reach the finish line due to technical difficulties. Ferdinand Porsche also came out on top in the efficiency test, as his 'P1' recorded the lowest energy consumption in urban traffic.


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