Heinrich Lohner (1786 – 1855) and his son Jakob Lohner (1821 – 1892) of Austria were in to the business of manufacturing wagons and luxury coaches. They were suppliers to many Royal courts as well as to the Austrian emperor. In 1863 , the company was named as Jacob Lohner Werke und Sohns.
In 1887 , Ludwig Lohner (1858 – 1928) - Jacob Lohner’s son, decided to investigate and expand in to self-propelled car which seemed to have a future. In 1897, Jacob Lohner & Co employed Ferdinand Porsche as their lead engineer to look in to the possibility of making a self-propelled car.
Porsche quickly made a design to use electric power to propel a car and made a car fitted with electric motors in the wheels , capable of providing 2 – 7 hp of power – the electricity being supplied a battery pack.
This electric car created a sensation and generated many orders and was in production till 1904. One customer wanted an upgraded design capable of seating up to 4 people as well as capable running on Petrol and electricity with drive to all 4 wheels. Challenged , Porsche created the world’s first serial Hybrid , named Mixtie. This vehicle was unveiled in 1901, was the world’s first Hybrid as well as 4WD vehicle.
See the video of a restored Mixtie here.
This design was of a serial hybrid – the petrol engine charging the battery, and is of similar design as the current Chevrolet Volt and Diesel Locomotives. It was rumored that NASA looked in to the design while designing the Lunar Rover for the moon landing in the 60s.
Ferdinand Porsche left Jacob Lohner & co in 1905 and went to work with Daimler. He was instrumental in creating the Volkswagen Beetle along with the controversy involving Tatra. Ultimately , Ferdinand created the company Porsche AG as we know today.