In 1898, Ferdinand Porsche designed an electric car that was not only an innovation of its time, but also the best in performance. He called it the P1, or Porsche, number one. Only four were ever built, all of which gave the world a taste of what Ferdinand Porsche’s great mind was truly capable of.
In a Jan. 27 press release from Porsche, the brand described the story of how the young genius was only 22 years old when developing his first P1 in Vienna, Austria. It was equipped with a 287 lbs motor mounted in the rear and produced 3 hp, with an overdrive option for up to 5 hp. It was powered by a 1,103 lbs battery capable of delivering enough power to travel up to 49 miles with a top speed of 21 mph. To solidify the P1’s name, Porsche engraved “P1” on all of the major components.
In September of 1899, Ferdinand took the automotive world by storm when he competed with two passengers in the international motor vehicle exhibition in Berlin, Germany. They took first place with an astonishing 18 minute lead over the next vehicle. Even more impressive was that Porsche’s newly developed electric car also won the efficiency competition for using the least amount of energy during the race.
After being placed in a warehouse in 1902 and remaining there untouched until recently, the P1 has been restored and placed as the centerpiece of the Porsche Museum. You can virtually visit the Porsche Museum here, where you’ll find the P1 sitting between the historical side of the building and the new developments.
See the full press release, photos and the Technical Data chart for the P1 below.
Atlanta. The first Porsche branded design was the Type 356 in the year 1948, but the very first vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche dates back to 1898 with the “Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton model”, known as the “P1” for short. After 115 years, the original and unrestored “P1” has been recovered from a warehouse and untouched since 1902. It will be on permanent display at the Porsche Museum, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary.
Designed and built by 22-year old Ferdinand Porsche, the “P1” took to the streets of Vienna, Austria, on June 26, 1898. Young Ferdinand had engraved the code “P1” (standing for Porsche, number one) onto all of the key components, thus giving the electric vehicle its unofficial name. The highly compact rear mounted electric drive weighs 287 lbs. and produces 3 hp. For short periods, up to 5 hp could be achieved in overdrive mode allowing the P1 to reach speeds up to 21 mph. The vehicle speed was regulated via a 12-speed control unit and the overall range of the 2,977 lb. vehicle could span up to 49 miles. Another innovation was the Lohner alternating vehicle body, which was mounted on the wooden “chassis” and allowed the vehicle to be a coupe style or an open Phaeton design.
First testing of the “P1” was completed in September 1899 at the international motor vehicle exhibition in the German capital of Berlin. An all-electric vehicle race over a distance of 24 miles was announced in Berlin for September 28. With three passengers onboard, Ferdinand Porsche steered his “P1” across the finish line 18 minutes ahead of the next competitor. More than half the participants failed to finish due to technical problems. Ferdinand also came out on top in the efficiency competition, as the “P1” recorded the least amount of energy consumed.
Five years since the opening of the Porsche Museum in January 2009, the addition of the “P1” will be the centerpiece that introduces visitors to the first part of the newly structured product and motorsport history exhibition. It will bridge the gap between the past and present-day developments such as the Porsche 918 Spyder. The 918 Spyder follows the long tradition to be a technological benchmark that first started 115 years ago with the “P1”.
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9:00 to 18:00. For more information, please visitwww.porsche.com/museum.
About Porsche Cars North America
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga. is the exclusive U.S. importer of Porsche sports cars, including the Macan and Cayenne SUVs and the Panamera sports sedan. Established in 1984, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and employs approximately 220 people who provide parts, service, marketing and training for 189 dealers. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers with a best-in-class experience that is in keeping with the brand