Photograph depicting Ferdinand Porsche.

Ferdinand Porsche was born on September 3, 1875 in Maffersdorf, which is now called Liberec and is part of the Czech Republic. You surely know him as the founder of the Porsche Motor Company, but he was also a remarkable innovator in the development of the electric vehicle.

His father ran a metalsmithing business, and he was expected to apprentice for that trade. Ferdinand had other ideas—fascinated by electricity from an early age, Porsche traveled to Vienna at the age of 18 to work as a trainee for an electrical company, Vereinigte Elektrizitäts-AG (VEAG). During this period, Ferdinand attended lectures at the Technical University as a guest. There he gained some theoretical knowledge of electricity. After 4 years, he was appointed manager of the Testing Department at VEAG. It was at this point that he met Ludwig Lohner, a coachbuilder. Porsche collaborated with Lohner's company on several electric vehicle designs, and at the age of 24 he was lured away from VEAG and appointed Technical Director of Lohner's automobile manufacturing plant in Vienna. His first design was a front-wheel drive electric vehicle that used electric wheel-hub motors. This vehicle was the world's first front-wheel drive car. The battery consisted of 44 lead–acid cells connected in series (∼80 V) with a capacity of 300 A·h. The battery weighed 410 kg and provided a range of 50 km. The massive weight ...

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