Think Toyota’s Prius was the first gasoline-electric hybrid? Think again. That distinction goes to a vehicle produced more than a century ago. See, they really did think of everything back then!
Called the Lohner-Porsche, it was the world’s first series hybrid. As its name suggests, the vehicle was the result of a partnership between Ferdinand Porsche and an Austrian carriage-maker, the “Lohner” half of things.
As for the vehicle, it featured four electric hub motors, one mounted in each wheel. It was hauled around by an array of onboard batteries that were juiced by a small generator. In concept it’s identical to modern hybrid vehicles. However, in practice it was quite different.
The open-air car was hugely expensive to manufacture and required literally tons of lead-acid batteries. Given the excessive weight it was extremely impractical. (Sounds like a familiar problem). The Lohner-Porsche was hampered by the battery technology of its era, as are today’s all-electric cars. Still, it was an idea that was nearly a century ahead of its time.