When Porsche fans think back to the history of the brand that is responsible for the iconic 911, most of us think the brand came to life in 1948 and in many ways it did. But long before the 911 was born, Porsche’s founder Ferdinand Porsche built the electric Porsche P1 in 1898.
The P1 was built as part of a partnership between Ferdinand Porsche and K.K. Hofwagenfabrik Jacob Lohner & Company and was officially known as the “Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton model.” At first glance, the P1 one looks like a simple horse drawn carriage, but Ferdinand Porsche, who was responsible for the design, endowed the archaic design with technology that was cutting edge at the time.
The P1 featured a 286 pound electric motor that only generated three horsepower at most times, but for short periods it could send five horsepower to the wheels in an overloading mode. The electric motor was capable of accelerating up to 22 mph and thanks to its batteries, which weighed 1,100 pounds, the P1 could travel up to 50 miles. Even though the P1 is over 100 years old, its electric range isn’t that far off from today’s much more modern electric vehicles.
Designed and built in 1898, the P1 was parked in a warehouse in 1902 and left untouched for the last 100 years. The original EV is now part of the permanent exhibition at the Porsche Museum.