So why did humanity only begin to treat hybrid cars as a viable method of transport well over a century later? After all, this was the hand-crank era; you'd imagine people would have climbed over each other to throw money at ol' Ferdinand for the electric start alone. And Lohner-Porsche wasn't some dainty little lily; it was a sturdy tank that looked like it ate other cars for breakfast.
"Bring it, Ford."
Yet, somehow, this awesomeness was never meant to be. The Lohner-Porsche was first unveiled at the 1900 world's fair in Paris and attracted massive press interest throughout Europe. Its various versions worked more and more electronics into the mix, until it ran on batteries and a gasoline-engine generator powering hub-mounted electric motors, one for every wheel. Despite its bulk, the vehicle was a reliable performer, well-liked by the people who bought it. It broke land-speed records with its ass-clenching-for-the-time top speed of 37 mph. That's ... not the sort of praise you generally get to give to a zero-emission car driven by smug turn-of-the-previous-century environmentalists.
And then, Lohner-Porsche dwindled out of production after only five years on the market. Only 11 hybrids and 65 full-electric cars were ever sold.
What the f**k, great-great-grandparents? Sure, the Lohner-Porsche wasn't a perfect vehicle. Cars had only just been invented; no vehicle was perfect. OK, so it was pricey. The batteries were cumbersome and weighty. The tires were under terrible pressure. But the hybrid tech the car utilized was solid, and the performance was there: For the short time they were on the market, various Lohner-Porsches became known as racing cars and public transport vehicles. f*****g NASA studied the car's wheel-hub tech decades later to create a little thing called the goddamned Lunar Roving Vehicle.
"LRV, I am your father."
So, yeah. This technology was good enough to send to the moon. How could you screw this up for us, ancestors? The rich folks of the era alone should have lapped up these things like the 1990s tore through Hummers. If that's the way we'd gone, we'd probably all be driving negative emission electric supertanks by now. We'd probably have hoverboards. You ancient fuckers, you deprived us of hoverboards.
Pauli invented the hoverboard in 1958, but Steve Jobs shut down the project. Here he is on Facebook and Twitter.
For more failed products, check out 9 Corporate Attempts At 'Edgy' That Failed (Hilariously) and Hulk Hogan Pasta To Shaq Fu: The 11 Most Pointless Celebrity Products.
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