Historic Porsche hybrid vehicle was built 111 years ago

We’ve been talking a lot about hybrids these days, almost as if they were a new concept. The reality is that in the early days of the automobile, engineers were really inventors, who were all trying to build a better propulsion solution than the next guy. One of those guys was a young man by the name of Ferdinand Porsche, who built what is likely the first ever hybrid vehicle, the Semper Vivus.

Created 111 years ago, the Semper Vivus featured a pair of generators that were turned to a pair of gasoline engines. These generators send power to a bank of batteries and to motors which are built in to the front hubs. This is truly not all that different from the hybrid drive systems we have today.

The example seen here is an exact, working replica that Porsche engineers have built from Porsche’s sketches, photos and extensive research. The Semper Vivus was on display at the New York Auto Show during media days, before being shipped to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart where it goes on display on May 10. Visitors to the museum on May 21 & 22 can go for a ride in the unique piece of motoring history.


About Gary Grant

Gary Grant Gary knows cars. He attributes his love of all things automotive to his early life in the 1960s and 1970s. Gary’s father was a road racer in Ontario, Canada and thus, Gary went along for the ride. No, we don’t mean he was literally along for the ride during his father’s races. He just went to them all. We think the smell of hot Castrol R burned into his brain and left quite the impression. Gary spent the majority of his childhood turning wrenches on race karts and traveling to kart tracks all across Canada. He’s also followed in his father’s tire tracks, having built his own autocross cars, and competed professionally. In the 1980s and 1990s, Gary and his wife served as crew for a few teams in the Firehawk series, not to mention competing as a pair in their Swift GTi rally car. While he may not be competing professionally today, Gary is still on the ride. When he isn’t coaching his kids in kart races, he is traveling near and far to cover the world’s leading auto shows, special events and auctions for us here at CarInsurance.org.


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