Ferdinand Porsche was born to German speaking parents in Maffersdorf now in the Czech Republic in 1875 and showed a strong interest in and aptitude for technology at an early age. Before he left home for Vienna at 18 Ferdinand had installed his parents house with the first electric light system in Maffersdorf.
In Vienna Porsche worked for Bella Egger & Co., a company specialising in electrical products which is better known to day as Brown Boveri. After only a couple years Porsche had been promoted to a management position before joining the newly created Electric Car Department at Hofwagenfabrik Jacob Lohner & Co., a Vienna-based company part of the Austro-Hungarian military industrial complex.
While at Lohner Porsche took up a ten year old idea by American inventor Wellington Adams to develop electric hub motor’s for a prototype all wheel drive electric Lohner buses.
His Lohner Porsche System was received with great acclaim in 1898 and a modified vehicle was ordered by British coach builder EW Hart which was to incorporate a petrol motor to act as a generator for the electric motors to extend the vehicles range.
The completed vehicle weighing in at some 4 tons was delivered on time in 1900 and was used to compete in an electric vehicle endurance trial from which the driver Ferdinand Porsche had to retire with a severe cold brought on by the extreme wet weather.
The 1900 Lohner-Porsche “Semper Vivus” (Ever Living) model employed two front electric hub motors each giving over 25 hp that are powered by batteries and two de Dion Boulton petrol motors each connected to generators which can be used to power the electric hub motors direct and charge the batteries, making the three ton “Semper Vivus” one of the earliest examples of a duel fuel vehicle.
Sitting 6 feet off the ground the driver has an excellent view off the road, however steering a Semper Vivus, with those heavy hub motors, will not impress anybody on a school run,
neither will the unsprung rear axle and so the Semper Vivus never went into production and so did not quite live up to it’s “Ever Living” moniker.
The recreation seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed was built 111 years after the original in a collaboration between The Porsche Museum and Hubert Drescher it took four years to complete and is said to have the same performance as the original.
Thanks for joining me on this “Ever Living Boneshaker” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at Williams 2013 Formula One challenger.
Brighton Speed Trials Under Threat of Permanent Cancellation !
In their infinite wisdom, Brighton & Hove City Council are seeking to ban the Brighton Speed Trials from 2014.
If you care about speed and or motorsport history, please sign this linked petition to save Brighton Speed Trials in 2014 and beyond.
It’s a faf to Register before signing, but relatively painless compared to loosing the event which has been run with few interruptions since 1905.
You do not need to be resident in Brighton or even the UK to sign.