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Emobe-Mercedes 450 SLCE

Published on 14.10.2020

Plug in your Old/Young-Timer!

Born as a result of the development of electric cars and the limiting of access to urban areas to older polluting cars, Retrofit is emerging as the latest trend among old/young-timer enthusiasts, and with this in mind, we decided to test-drive an amazing 1977 Mercedes 450 SLC that had been given the electric treatment.
  
The idea of converting a conventional car to electric propulsion is by no means a new one, but with the development of new electric cars, it is a trend that has certainly taken off. The Retrofit technology is indeed now advanced enough to make it increasingly affordable and is attracting many start-ups like Emobe, which made the Mercedes 450 SLCE that we test drove. Founded by two engineers with a passion for cars, Emobe has come to specialise in the electrical conversion of old internal combustion vehicles through a concept known as EMASTERED. This Mercedes 450 SLCE is their first creation and serves as a demo vehicle.
 

The technical element

The removal of the large 4.5-litre V8 engine, fuel tank and cooling and exhaust systems has freed up enough space to integrate the new electric engine, its power electronics and the battery pack. This very compact, disc-shaped synchronous motor is more powerful and has more torque in Overboost mode (temporary power demand), and is also combined with the original automatic transmission for cost reasons. The sizeable 90-litre fuel tank makes way for part (2/3) of the battery pack (made up of LG modules identical to those of a Renault ZOE) while the rest fits beneath the front bonnet with the electric engine and power electronics. The engineers’ main concern was making the best possible use of the packaging and weight for an ideal weight distribution (50/50) between the front and rear, which would actually be better than on the original car! The recharging element features a 7kW AC charger as standard (DC charger optional), giving a recharge time of approx. 7 hours using a domestic or public charging point.
 

Driving 

Taking the wheel of this SLCE gave me the strange sensation of travelling through time, especially as I am one of those who remember the days, in the not-so-distant past, when the SLC was still in production! In fact, the onboard installation reminded me just how cramped and almost rudimentary old cars were. How things have progressed in such a short space of time! The engine start-up and the first few metres also surprised me in many ways, primarily because of the amazingly futuristic feel of moving so smoothly and silently in such vintage surroundings. Then, of course, there were the contemporary driving interfaces, such as the soft return of the steering system and the softness of the seats combined with the undulation of the suspension that called me back to order, because, despite the mechanical rejuvenation that it has undergone, there was no escaping the fact that this was indeed an ‘old car’ that I was having to ‘navigate’ through the traffic. I was surprised, though, by the smooth and responsive new electric engine, which is certainly an improvement on the old V8. Its integration and interaction with the old automatic gearbox blew my mind and I can only applaud Emobe for this amazingly smooth and rigorous achievement.

 
 
 
 Information at emobe.eu

Technical specifications

Mercedes 450 SLCE Emastered by Emode


Mercedes 450 SLC combustion

Electric engine

AC synchronous motor with permanent excitation & axial flow

V8 petrol mechanical injection

Power

200kW / 272hp peak

160kW / 217hp

Torque

400 Nm

360 Nm

Battery / tank capacity

50 kWh

90 L

Gearbox

3-speed automatic

Drive

rear-wheel

0-100 km/h

7,9 secs

8,8 secs

Maximum speed

180km/h (limited)

215km/h

Consumption 

20 to 30kWh/100km

15L/100 km

Actual battery life

225km

approx. 550km

C02 emissions

0g/km

340g/km (estimated)

Curb weight

1695kg

1635kg

 
                                                                            

A solution for the future? 

This test-drive confirmed that it would be technically possible to continue using old/young-timers in the future because, just like modern electric cars, they will continue to afford access to low-emission zones. There are many companies like Emobe, but we will need to be vigilant in order to ensure that they not only have the necessary skills to implement the Retrofit technology but are also competent in their certification — something that Emobe includes among its services. It remains to be seen how much it will cost to enjoy the pleasure of driving a vehicle that could be described as retro-futuristic, the Emobe answer to that question currently approaching €50,000, excluding the donor vehicle. Not exactly a steal then, you might say, but that’s probably about what you’d be looking at paying for an à la carte ‘eco-vintage’ project!
 
Antonio Da Palma

© Diane Sellier

 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                               
 

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