Lohner-Porsche Electric Car Replica

Lohner-Porsche Electric Car Replica

I recently got an email from Brian Harper, who is the Deputy Editor, Post Driving for the National Post, a major Canadian newspaper.  Brian is a real car guy and I enjoy our frequent exchanges on issues related to cars.  Below is a picture that Brian sent to me of him, taken early this spring while he was in Germany, driving a replica of an early electric car designed by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche.

National Post’s Brian Harper driving the Lohner-Porsche Electric Car Replica

This is a re-creation of the 1900 Lohner-Porsche hybrid that was unveiled by Porsche at the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of March. (The real car had long since disappeared). This car uses two de Dion gasoline engines to charge the accumulator, which consists of 44 single-cell batteries. And, yes, those are electric motors in the front hub (each weighs 270 kg.).  Hubert Drescher, the guy who built this, was working from 2 grainy black and white photos and one technical drawing. It took him three years to build it.  Very impressive!

Perhaps many people would be surprised that Ferdinand Porsche’s first work with automobiles was with electric cars.  Porsche was quite young at this time as it should be noted that in 1900, when the above car was designed and built, Porsche was only 25 years old.



Another Electric Two-Wheel Drive Lohner-Porsche from 1900
I do not recall seeing any references to the Lohner-Porsche electric cars during my recent trip to the Porsche Museum.  Some of Ferdinand Porsche’s early work with Daimler-Benz and Mercedes-Benz was on display, but nothing on the electric cars that he worked on very early in his career.  Possibly I just missed seeing it, so if I’m incorrect someone please correct me.
Front View of the 1900 Two-Wheel Drive Lohner-Porsche showing the Electric Motors in the Wheels
In 1901, Lohner-Porsche designed and built a four-wheel drive electric car as shown below:
1901 Lohner-Porsche Four-Wheel Drive Electric Car
These cars demonstrate the engineering genious of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche.  He excelled at all aspect of automotive design and his designs were often far ahead of the designs of his contemporaries.  Dr. Ferdinand Porsche worked with Lohner-Porsche until 1906, when he joined Austro-Daimler as Technical Director.  He stayed with Daimler (and all its subsequent companies) until 1928.  He had a long, important career after that, but that will be the topic for another posting.

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