Think the Toyota Prius was the first hybrid automobile ever made? Think again. Honda Insight? Keep guessing. In reality, the world's first hybrid was designed and built by none other than Ferdinand Porsche, founding father of the present-day Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart. That's right, the same brain that brought us such ingenious machinery as the Volkswagen Beetle and the glorious Auto Union racers built the world's first fully functional hybrid automobile.
Now that the modern-day Porsche brain-trust is once again showing interest in hybrid technology, the German company has decided to bring back the 1900 Semper Vivus, which literally means always alive. Although the technology behind hybrids has come a long way – Porsche's first hybrid used about 4,000 pounds of lead acid batteries and could barely climb any kind of grade – the basic principles are actually much the same.
To wit, just like that original Semper Vivus, Porsche's latest hybrid, the 2012 Panamera S Hybrid, features an engine (in this case a supercharged V6 putting out 333 horsepower), an electric motor (which adds another 47 horses) and a battery pack. All the major bits and pieces are the same, except with massive improvements in power and efficiency.
In celebration of 111 years of hybrid automobiles, Porsche spent the past four years recreating the Semper Vivus, and it will show off the fruits of its labor at the rapidly approaching 2011 Geneva Motor Show. In an effort to whet our appetites, the automaker has released a teaser video that you can see for yourself after the break, along with the requisite press release.
Porsche presents first functional, full hybrid car in the world, the 'Semper Vivus', 111 years after its World Premiere in 1900
ATLANTA – February 24, 2011 --- From the beginning of the 20th century, the name Porsche has been associated with pioneering innovations in automotive engineering. Ferdinand Porsche, the founding father of the present-day Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, entered unchartered territory in 1900 with the creation of the first fully-functional hybrid car in the world, the 'Semper Vivus' ('always alive').
In a stunning four-year project the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart has recreated the Semper Vivus to its original glory. One-hundred eleven years after Ferdinand Porsche's ground breaking innovation, the Semper Vivus will commemorate Porsche's lengthy dedication to ground-breaking hybrid technology with an appearance at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. It will subsequently be on display as part of the Porsche Museum collection in Stuttgart.
In addition, Porsche has recently announced that a second production hybrid will follow the Cayenne S Hybrid SUV, the Panamera S Hybrid. Deriving its total power output of 380 hp from a three-liter V6 supercharged engine and a 47 hp electric unit, the Panamera S Hybrid's total fuel consumption is 6.8 l/100 km. That equates to CO2 emissions of just 159 g/km, making it the most economical Porsche of all time.
About Porsche Cars North America, Inc
A wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Dr. Ing. h.c.F.Porsche, Porsche Cars North America, Inc. and its 197 dealers offer U.S. customers some of the most technically advanced and high-performance vehicles in the world. Porsche cars are synonymous with supreme quality accompanied by first-class customer treatment. Also, Porsche is fully and publicly committed to being a leader in lowering emissions, and saving fuel. The company's guiding credo is "Porsche Intelligent Performance" and the goal is to prove that Porsche's high performance and efficiency are not contradictory terms. A dramatic example of this is the highly-anticipated 918 Spyder - a super sports car that is also a planned plug-in hybrid. Of course this is nothing new for Porsche, which for 63 years has developed numerous technologies that have advanced vehicle performance, improved safety and spurred environmental innovations. Obviously, one expects such achievements from the most revered race car brand in the world --- one that has accumulated more than 30,000 motorsport victories. Today, PCNA imports the cars that are the product of this great history, including the iconic 911 series, the renowned Boxster and Cayman mid-engine sports cars, the high-end Cayenne sport utility vehicles and the four-door Panamera sports sedan.