First Hybrid

Step aside Toyota. Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche designed and built a hybrid vehicle way back in 1900. His Semper Vivus used batteries to run hub-mounted motors. When the batteries ran out, two single-cylinder engines kicked in to keep the electricity flowing. Top speeds reached 35 miles per hour.

Porsche has built a $750,000 reproduction of Ferdinand’s Semper Vivus, which means “always alive.” The automaker displayed it at the New York Auto Show alongside its modern Panamera S Hybrid, which made its American debut at the show. The Panamera will cost $95,000

Click the video player below to see the Semper Vivus in action.

Click here to read a November 1998 BL story about the Prius and other early hybrids.


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