Historic Porsche hybrid vehicle was built 111 years ago

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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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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.

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