124-year-old electric ‘Porsche’ restored in Germany

The electric Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton was designed by Ferdinand Porsche in 1898, and offered more range than many internal-combustion vehicles from the era.

An electric wooden buggy designed and built by Ferdinand Porsche more than 120 years ago has been restored for public display in Germany.

The 1898 Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton – also dubbed the ‘Porsche P1’ retrospectively, despite preceding the official Porsche marque by more than three decades – was penned by the prolific engineer when he was just 23 years old.

However, only one example was completed before Mr Porsche opted to prioritise petrol-powered machinery.

A electric motor mounted on the rear axle pulled energy from a 500kg lead-acid battery, sending between 2.2kW and 3.7kW to the road for a top speed of 35km/h.

A maximum range of 79km between charges was claimed when it was built – further than many internal combustion-powered vehicles from the day, including the Benz Patent-Motorwagen which could travel approximately 50km on its 4.5-litre fuel tank.

After going missing for well over a century, the Porsche vehicle was unearthed by historians in an Austrian warehouse in 2014.

While the original battery, seats, and much of the bodywork is missing, the restoration team chose not to add new replica parts to the aged wooden chassis – instead, clear perspex sheets were attached to the reflect the silhouette.

The Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton is now on display at the Porsche museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

After revealing the C.2 Phaeton, Porsche is not believed to have built another electric vehicle until the Boxster E prototype of 2011, followed by the Porsche Mission E concept of 2015 – later sold in production guise as the Taycan.

By 2021 the Taycan was the third best selling zero-emission vehicle in Australia behind only the Tesla Model 3 and MG ZS EV.

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