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Porsche shares its original plan for an electric car, a car that runs on batteries and reaches 21 mph

Porsche shares its original plan for an 1898 electric car, a car with a 1,100-pound battery and a three-horsepower engine that could reach speeds of 21 mph

  • The legendary German automaker created its first electric vehicle in 1898.
  • It was a collaboration between an electric company and a carriage manufacturer.
  • Nicknamed the P1, it had an 187-pound electric motor and could go at 21 mph

While Porsche prepares to launch the Taycan, its long-awaited $ 150,000 luxury electric car, many point to the company's long history with electric vehicles.

The company's first vehicle, the C2 Phaeton, sometimes dubbed the P1, debuted in 1898, a car powered by an 187-pound electric motor that generated 3 horsepower and could reach top speeds of 21 mph.

The P1 was designed by Ferdinand Porsche, 22, who worked for the Viennese utility company Bella Egger & Co.

The P1, the first car designed by Ferdinand Porsche, featured an 187-pound electric motor and could reach speeds of up to 21 mph

The P1, the first car designed by Ferdinand Porsche, featured an 187-pound electric motor and could reach speeds of up to 21 mph

Bell Egger & Co. agreed to collaborate with the local carriage manufacturer, Jacob Lohner & Co. on a prototype, and the young Porsche was assigned to the project.

He created a design with a rear-mounted engine that ran on a battery bank that weighed more than 1,100 pounds, according to a report published in Ars Technica.

In total, the P1 weighed 2,997 pounds and had a range of about 50 miles, surpassing many gasoline vehicles at that time.

The P1 had a 12-speed transmission system, with two different configurations to go in reverse and four other ultra-low speed options intended to be used for braking.

Exceptionally, the system was not based on a conventional gear differential system, but instead altered the force of the current that is sent to the motor rotor to alter its speed.

The vehicle also had what Porsche described as an "overload" function that would give the engine 2 additional horsepower to help it push the vehicle up.

The P1 was originally a collaboration between Viennese carriage manufacturer Jacob Lohner & Co, and a local power company where a 22-year-old Porsche worked.

The P1 was originally a collaboration between Viennese carriage manufacturer Jacob Lohner & Co, and a local power company where a 22-year-old Porsche worked.

The P1 was originally a collaboration between Viennese carriage manufacturer Jacob Lohner & Co, and a local power company where a 22-year-old Porsche worked.

The P1 had a 12-speed transmission system, but instead of gear differentials, it sent different force currents to the engine rotor.

The P1 had a 12-speed transmission system, but instead of gear differentials, it sent different force currents to the engine rotor.

The P1 had a 12-speed transmission system, but instead of gear differentials, it sent different force currents to the engine rotor.

The P1 worked with a battery bank that weighed more than 1,100 pounds and gave the vehicle a range of about 50 miles

The P1 worked with a battery bank that weighed more than 1,100 pounds and gave the vehicle a range of about 50 miles

The P1 worked with a battery bank that weighed more than 1,100 pounds and gave the vehicle a range of about 50 miles

Ferdinand Porsche had an aptitude for electrical systems from an early age, which helped him get a job at the Viennese power company Bell Egger & Co.

Ferdinand Porsche had an aptitude for electrical systems from an early age, which helped him get a job at the Viennese power company Bell Egger & Co.

Ferdinand Porsche had an aptitude for electrical systems from an early age, which helped him get a job at the Viennese power company Bell Egger & Co.

In 1899, the P1 entered a race in Berlin, competing against other electric car manufacturers.

The P1 came first in the 24-mile race and beat its next closest competitor for more than 18 minutes, establishing Porsche's reputation for speed.

The success led Porsche to join Loehner full-time as an engineer, before moving to Austro-Daimler in 1906.

He worked for Daimler until 1929, when he was fired in part due to the Great Depression.

With few other options, he decided to start his own company and formally launched Porsche GmbH in 1931, and the rest is history.

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