The First Hybrid Car Ever Made - SUV VEHICLE

The First Hybrid Car Ever Made

Hybrid vehicles have always been an interesting segment of the greater automotive market. By using both electric and gas to function, these vehicles become even more efficient, produce fewer emissions, and give you a taste of what it’s like to drive a semi-EV. Moreover, hybrid models aren’t just like the Toyota Prius, which has been in production and existence for many decades.

With the first true semi-electric hybrid model being made in 1901, there is a long, rich history regarding these cars. Nowadays, you have normal hybrids, which are becoming your “base” powertrain, and plug-in models that tend to be more expensive, and you have to charge them between drives. Of course, as the world has realized that fuel burning at the rate it has been can’t be continued or sustained, many drivers are flocking to electricity.

Hybrid cars, trucks, and SUVs were once merely a dream of the future, with them now becoming some of the best-selling of all. Brands like Toyota, Honda, Ford, Chevy, BMW, etc., have made it their mission to combat climate change by producing more electric or semi-electric models. However, none of those mentioned brands are responsible for what we now know as the hybrid vehicle. Stick around as we share who did this in the early 1900s.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from Porsche and other authoritative sources, including official Porsche documents, press releases, and statistics from the brand and government sites like the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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Porsche Has Been Winning The Hybrid Game Since 1901

Considering that it was Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the brand, who invented the first-ever semi-electric vehicle titled the “Semper Vivus” using the Lohner-Porsche system, it is only fair to hand the title of hybrid king to him. This vehicle was and remains revolutionary for endless reasons. You have this vehicle debuting 110 years before the launch of the Cayenne S Hybrid in 2010, which was the brand’s next swing at the concept.

This time, however, the Cayenne S Hybrid worked as a mass release, and would kick off the now electrification of the European sportscar company. Porsche has always been an innovative brand. Ferdinand Porsche had an idea to mix electricity with a traditional gas engine, giving it a boost of power while driving. That laid down the foundation for what would become the ever-loved genre of semi-electric cars, trucks, and SUVs. Thank you, Ferdinand. We’re big fans.

Hundreds Of Years Later, Hybrids Live On

Considering it has been over a hundred years since the first Lohner-Porsche Mixte dropped, the company still remains an active participant in electric development. As part of Ferdinand’s original vision and execution for the hybrid Porsche model, you saw its engine powered by a generator that sent a charge to the wheel hubs to drive them. Even today, Porsche uses similar technology to boost acceleration and overall power between wheels when in electric or semi-electric mode. Today, you have the following hybrids being offered by Porsche:

  • Cayenne E-Hybrid: Starting at $83,300
  • Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupe: Starting at $88,600
  • Panamera 4 E-Hybrid: Starting at $105,000

Again, Porsche is a luxury auto manufacturer, so you see top-line specs in addition to hybrid powertrains across its cars and SUVs. It could be that these models aren’t as purchased compared to cheaper ones from, let’s say, Toyota because of their MSRP. In the luxury segment, however, Porsche remains king of hybrids.

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Ferdinand Porsche & His Love For Electric

First-ever hybrid vehicle Porsche

It’s safe to say that Ferdinand Porsche always adored the idea of electric driving. Whatever his vision for the past, present, or future of Porsche was, it included electric technology. With the first-ever hybrid, the “Semper Vivus,” which utilized the Lohner-Porsche system, Porsche would go on to create many similar, semi-electric models.

You sometimes see this listed as Lohner–Porsche, which stands for where they were manufactured (Lohner-Werke in the early 1900s). Regardless, Ferdinand always had a niche for electric manufacturing. He began his hybrid and EV journey, launching the Porsche brand *officially* with 200 employees in the year 1948. You want to remember the first-ever hybrid was built decades before, in the early 1900s. That goes to show how revolutionary Ferdinand and his vision were/are.

The First-Ever Electric Car, Porsche Invented

Alongside his hybrid vehicle, Ferdinand also wanted to take a swing at fully electric design and manufacturing. This all came to a head in 1898, the Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton was powered by an octagonal electric motor that produced up to five PS. You also saw specs like the car offering a top speed of ~27 MPH and a range of around 49.7 miles of range per charge. Considering we presently witness automobile makers launch PHEVs with less range than that, we’ll give Ferdinand his flowers. Ferdinand would name it the ‘P1’ – to signify that it was the first ever Porsche-designed car.

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Porsche Is Still An Underrated Hybrid Powerhouse

One thing you want to remember about Porsche is that this auto brand remains a hybrid powerhouse. In 2023 alone, the company sold 75,415 cars – a new record – and a 7.6 percent increase versus the previous record set in 2022. Of these, you saw vehicles with the hybrid/electric offering top the list. Here’s what those figures looked like, per Porsche’s official newsroom:

  • Panamera: 4,205 examples
  • Cayenne: 20,475 examples
  • Taycan: 7,570 examples

We also have the all-new Macan EV hitting the market, which should give Porsche’s EV and hybrid segment a nice boost in 2024, 2025, and beyond. With this newest lineup of full and partial electric powertrains, Porsche has the opportunity to make a major splash in the industry, taking its crown from competitors like Tesla. After all, Porsche did it first. We may as well give the brand the recognition and acclaim it deserves. We’re sure Ferdinand would smile down at us.

Porsche continues to see increasing success with its EV and hybrid lineup. Currently, the Taycan and Macan are all-electric models, while the Panamera and Cayenne are hybrids. Porsche is expected to continue electrifying into the next decade.

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From 1901 to 3001: Porsche Keeps Doing The Impossible

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We we move quickly through the 2020s, it’s worth noting how iconic Porsche continues to be. Even with its electric initiative that shook the luxury market, Porsche is making some of the sleekest, fastest, and sexiest electric and semi-electric models the industry has ever seen. Creating the first-ever hybrid model in the 1900s, Porsche has long been a pioneer. There’s not much to deny when thinking back at how influential this brand has been to nearly all other luxury and non-luxury automakers, especially those who produce hybrids. The Semper Vivus was the start of a long journey to the top of the hybrid industry.

As of now, Porsche continues to vow it will swap out full ICE designs and swap them for BEV or EV configurations ahead of 2030. You should see much more come out from the company, mainly in the electric field, which is exciting for shoppers, drivers, fans, and those who care about the planet. Times have changed, although Porsche’s vision has remained innovative.

The Future Is All-Electric

Per recent Porsche newsroom postings, CEO confirmations, and releases into its SUV fleet, it is clear the European auto manufacturer is shifting its gas-centered culture. Following Ferdinand Porsche’s original 1901 semi-electric model, the company now sees itself producing more and more hybrids. In 2023, the hybrid market accounted for 16.3 percent of total new light-duty vehicle (LDV) sales in 2023. For comparison, this figure at closer to 12.9 percent in the previous sales year. EVs are also seeing increased sales, hitting the million sales mark in the United States within a single calendar tracking period in 2023 as well. The future is electric for Porsche and beyond!

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