Home Vídeos First Functional, Full-hybrid Car in the World : The PORSCHE Semper Vivus

First Functional, Full-hybrid Car in the World : The PORSCHE Semper Vivus


First Functional, Full-hybrid Car in the World : The PORSCHE Semper Vivus. Ferdinand Porsche as hybrid drive pioneer

The name Porsche has been associated with pioneering innovations in automotive engineering since the beginning of the last century. In 1900 Ferdinand Porsche unveiled his “Lohner Porsche”, an electric car with wheel-hub drive and soon after this car featured all-wheel drive and four-wheel brakes, another world first. A highlight of his early years as an automotive designer was the Lohner-Porsche “Semper Vivus” that went down in history 111 years ago as the first functional hybrid car.

Porsche’s reconstruction of the “Semper Vivus” is a tribute to this visionary invention by Ferdinand Porsche. The fully functional replica of the “Semper Vivus” was built based on original drawings and exhaustive research. The faithful replica, whose visionary design impresses to this very day, was the outcome of collaboration between Porsche Engineering and Karosseriebau Drescher, a coachbuilding company based in Hinterzarten.
The history of the Lohner-Porsche “Semper Vivus”

Ferdinand Porsche was busy designing and developing his cars as long ago as 1896. The first fruit of this endeavour was an electric vehicle known as the “Lohner-Porsche” driven by steered wheel hub motors that caused a sensation at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900. This was soon followed by ever more impressive proof of just how innovative Ferdinand Porsche was. A racing car boasting four wheel hub electric motors became the world’s first all-wheel drive passenger car that also marked the automotive engineering debut of four-wheel brakes. No less visionary was Ferdinand Porsche’s next idea. Again in 1900, he combined his battery-powered wheel hub drive with a petrol engine – the principle of the serial hybrid drive had been born.

Ferdinand Porsche had entered uncharted territory with this first functional, full-hybrid car in the world, the “Semper Vivus”. In this vehicle, two generators twinned with petrol engines formed a single charging unit, simultaneously supplying electricity to wheel hub motors and batteries. In autumn 1900, Ferdinand Porsche set to work on a first prototype with “petrol-electric hybrid drive”. Presumably he based the world’s full hybrid car on a conversion of his electric racing vehicle from the Semmering-Bergrennen race. To this end he combined his electrical wheel hub motors with two combustion engines with no mechanical connection whatsoever to a drive axle. Instead, they each drove an electric generator supplying both the wheel hub motors and accumulators with electricity. It was the birth of serial hybrid drive. As a full hybrid concept, the “Semper Vivus” (“Always Alive”) was also able to cover longer distances purely on battery power until the combustion engine had to be engaged as a charging station.

To save weight and create space for a petrol engine, Ferdinand Porsche swapped the original 74 cell accumulator in his electromobiles for a smaller battery with only 44 cells. In the middle of the vehicle he installed two water cooled 3.5 PS (2.6 kW) DeDion Bouton petrol engines for generating electricity, driving two generators, each producing 2.5 hp (1.84 kW). Both engines operated independently of one another, each delivering 20 amperes with a voltage of 90 volts. The electricity generated by the dynamos initially flowed to the wheel hub motors, with the surplus power being forwarded to the batteries.

In practice, Ferdinand Porsche still had to contend with the principal problem of his wheel hub cars – the vehicle’s heavy weight. Although the total weight of his “Semper Vivus” hybrid car was only 70 kg more than the original version, the 1,200 kg of the prototype was a challenge for the soft rubber mix of the pneumatic tyres at that time. In other respects as well the hybrid concept was still a long way away from being ready for series production. With its bodiless chassis, exposed petrol engines and unsprung rear axle, the “Semper Vivus” may have impressed the trade visitors to the Paris Motor Show in 1901 but potential car buyers must have felt that the Spartan prototype was not really for them. The interaction of engine, batteries and control system also still needed a lot of development and in addition to the ambitious control technology, fouling of the accumulators due to dirt being thrown up was a constant problem. And yet the hybrid concept had pointed to new possibilities that Ferdinand Porsche resolutely set about turning into reality.

Engine: 2x Single cylinder De-Dion-Bouton combustion engine
Output : 2.5 hp (1,85 kW) per cylinder
Electric motor output : 2.7 hp (2 kW) per wheel
Top speed: 35 km/h (22 mph)
Range: 200 km (124 miles)

Overall width : 1,880 mm
Overall length : 3,390 mm
Overall height: 1,850 mm
Total weight: 1.7 t
Front wheel weight (single): 272 kg (with wheel hub motor)

Track width front: 1,350 mm
Track width rear: 1,540 mm
Wheelbase : 2,310 mm
Ground clearance: 250 mm

Source : Porsche



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