Porsche: 120 Years of Electric Vehicle Excellence
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Porsche: 120 Years of Electric Excellence

Porsche Taycan - 1890s hybrid

Many people will tell you that the hot-selling Taycan is the first battery-powered Porsche to reach production— but they’re wrong. That honor goes to the P1, built for coachmaker Egger-Lohner and parked in a barn in 1902.

You read that right: 1902.

Officially called the Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton, the “Porsche P1” was designed fully by Ferdinand Porsche, and is considered by many to be the first stepping stone towards the creation of his own eponymous company, Porsche.

“The vehicle resembles a wooden crate or an old horse-drawn carriage,” reads Wikipedia’s entry on the car, “but it is actually an electrically motored vehicle.” The C.2 Phaeton sat four people, and was powered by a 3HP electric motor that spins up to 350 RPM, giving the early horseless carriage a top speed of around 35 km/h (~25 MPH). Similarly, the Taycan also sits four people– but that’s where the similarities end!

Well— that’s not quite true. Like the modern Taycan, the Porsche P1 was considered a technological masterpiece in its day. But, while the Taycan is “better, faster, quieter,” than the internal combustion cars in its class, it might be impossible to relate to how futuristic an utterly silent, clean-running, and (comparatively) fast electric car would have seemed to people who were still very much used to seeing horse-drawn buggies on their streets.

“Better” is different from “mind-blowingly different,” in other words, and the old “Phaeton” was a mind-blower. Despite that, it was nearly forgotten, and made international news when it was discovered in a German barn, where it had sat idle since 1902.

All things considered, the car was in pretty good condition. The wooden body had been destroyed by time, but the Porsche museum— in a bid to both honor the vehicle’s authenticity as a historical artifact and still give museum-goers a sense of what the car would have looked like in its heyday, fitted what remained of the P1 with a clear “ghost body” before surrounding it with old pictures and technical drawings of the car.

You can check out some of the photos of the Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton/Porsche P1 electric car, below, then let us know if you see any P1 DNA in the Porsche Taycan in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton | Porsche P1


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