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Porsche goes green...100 years ago

At this month's Los Angeles Auto Show, the German performance automaker will unveil its green plan for a new century - the last one.

Wheel hub motors
Wheel hub motors
Ferdinand Porsche's first great fascination as an engineer wasn't with automobiles but electricity. As a youngster, he experimented secretly at home with electricity, and his first engineering job was with an Austrian company that made electrical equipment.

It was there that he was asked to engineer an electric motor that had been requested by Austria's royal carriage manufacturer, Jacob Lohner & Co. The electric motors were to be housed within the carriage's wheels.

After he completed the motor design in 1898, Porsche was hired by Lohner to work on the carriage that would run on the motors.

With an electric motor in each front wheel, the car had a top speed of about 31 miles per hour. Versions of this car won several races, often with Porsche himself at the wheel.

One racing version, created in 1900 and capable of a top speed of 37 miles per hour, had electric motors in all four wheels, allowing Porsche Cars to claim that its founder created the first all-wheel-drive vehicle.




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