Porsche will unveil Semper Vivus at 2011 Geneva Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 25, 2011

In development for four years, the Semper Vivus (the first functional, full hybrid car in the world) has been recreated by the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. It will be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show.

Porsche has long been known for its pioneering innovations in automotive engineering. In 1900, Ferdinand Porsche, the founding father of the company, created the Semper Vivus ('always alive'), giving birth to the serial hybrid drive.

After the Geneva show, the Semper Vivus will be displayed as part of the Porsche Museum collection in Stuttgart.

Porsche is highlighting its presence at the 81st Geneva Motor Show on the world premiere of a contemporary parallel full hybrid model. After the success of the Cayenne S Hybrid, this signals a new chapter in the Stuttgart company's ‘Porsche Intelligent Performance' philosophy.

Porsche will unveil the Semper Vivus along with the new hybrid model on March 1, 2011 at the press conference to be held on the Porsche stand in Hall 1.

Aside from these world premieres, Porsche will also be showing off the 918 RSR hybrid racing car concept, which makes its European debut. The mid-engine coupé merges the design of the 918 Spyder with the technology of the 911 GT3 R hybrid racing car.

It was back in 1896 when Prof. Ferdinand Porsche became busy not just with designing but also with developing cars. The result of these efforts was the Lohner-Porsche, an electric vehicle. Using steered wheel-hub motors to drive it, the Lohner-Porsche became a hit when it was launched during the Paris World Exhibition held in 1900. Prof. Porsche did not stop there as he followed it up with a racing car that displayed his very own inventive spirit.

With four wheel-hub electric motors, this vehicle became the first passenger car to have all-wheel drive. It was also an amazing feat of automotive engineering as it is also the first to have four-wheel brakes. Prof. Porsche continued with these innovations as in 1900, he developed a vehicle that was equipped with battery-powered wheel hub drive and combined with a petrol engine. This meant that he was the one to create what would be called as the serial hybrid drive principle.

As if that was not enough, Prof. Porsche next ventured to unchartered territory and came up with the first functional full-hybrid car, the Semper Vivus. Inside this vehicle are two generators that have been paired with petrol engine in order to become one entire charging unit.

This unit supplies electricity to the batteries and wheel-hub motors at the same time. It was during the autumn of 1900 that he started to work on the first prototype that would be equipped with a petrol-electric hybrid drive. It is generally assumed that this full hybrid car was based on converting the electric racing vehicle used on the Semmering-Bergrennen race. What he did was to combine the two combustion engines with the electrical wheel-hub motors.

However, there was no mechanical connection to its drive axle. Prof. Porsche instead made sure that each powered the electric generators, the ones that were supplying electricity to the accumulators and wheel-hub motors.

This is the first instance of the serial hybrid drive. Since the Semper Vivus was a full hybrid concept, it could cover longer distances even when running solely on battery power. The combustion engine meanwhile is only activated in order to recharge the batteries. In addition to the issue of weight, there was also a need to create a room for its petrol engine. To solve this problem, Prof. Porsche replaced the 74-cell accumulator that was standard in his electromobiles with a smaller battery containing 44 cells.

Installed in the middle of the vehicle was a pair of DeDion Bouton 3.5 PS (2.6 kW) water-cooled petrol engines, capable of delivering 2.5 hp (1.84 kW). Each of the engines could run independently and could produce 20 amperes with voltage at 90 volts. It was also responsible for driving its two generators to produce electricity.

Once the dynamos started producing electricity, it goes to the wheel-hub motors with the extra power going to the batteries. As a bonus, the generators could be used. The electric starter motors for its petrol engines also kick in by simply reversing the rotation’s direction.

Press Release

Sensational Porsche World Premiere in Geneva

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.

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