14 December 2012

Porsche hybrid (1900)

Porsche rolled into the New York Auto Show with Semper Vivus, a meticulous $750,000 reproduction of the series hybrid Ferdinand Porsche built in 1900. The car provided a nice contrast to the $95,000 Panamera S Hybrid making its North American debut at the show.

Semper Vivus, Latin for “always alive,” works a lot like the Chevrolet Volt. Batteries provide juice to the hub-mounted motors, and a pair of tiny single-cylinder engines step in to drive two 2.5-kilowatt generators that keep electricity flowing when the batteries go kaput.

The specs are impressive, even by today’s standards. The batteries have a range of 40 kilometers (25 miles). Once the 3.5-horsepower engines fire up, Semper Vivus can go another 160 kilometers (100 miles). Top speed is 35 mph, quite quick for its day. One cool bit: the tires were chiseled from solid blocks of rubber, the only way to support the weight of the car. Semper Vivus weighs 3,700 pounds.
And this comment from the Wired source last year: "There will be some debate as to which looks better."

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