Earlier, the world fairs provided a stage for technological exhibitions. For instance, the one held in 1900 in Paris (“…and now the 500-euro question: Which structure was built for the 1900 world fair in Paris?”). In addition to the well-known Eiffel Tower, this world fair had a lasting influence on the mobility of the future: It showcased the metro, trolleybus, and Lohner-Porsche – the first electric hybrid car (!) – as “world premieres.” If you like, you can certainly include the escalator as a contribution to the mobility of the future as well. In the interests of completeness, here is also a list of the world’s innovations from 1900 that have nothing to do with mobility: Film, Crimean champagne, brilliantine (for well-groomed hair) and photogravure (a printing process).
Apparently, electric cars could not prevail back then. Benzine and diesel came away as the winners. Where would we be today if the design from Lohner and Porsche had turned into a hot seller? The developments from back then are forcing us to resume the discussion again now in the twenty-first century – about fine dust, air pollution, moving away from fossil oil as a source of energy, and urban mobility. It appears that Lohner’s idea was waaaaaay ahead of its time (obviously what we would term “visionary” today).