Nowadays, most, if not all, the cars in Mercedes-Benz‘s lineup have some kind of sporting pretension. Things like aggressive styling, huge wheels, and “sport” drive modes all contribute to this, but go back a few decades, and a Mercedes had but one purpose: to be a luxurious, comfortable vehicle. This 1972 280SE, which has been converted to electric power, is a perfect example of that thinking.
The battery and powertrain came from a 2013 Nissan Leaf, which at first might sound underwhelming in terms of power, but keep in mind this car’s purpose was never to be a speed demon. It’s meant for luxury cruising, so the smooth, silent ride provided by this EV conversion is actually quite fitting. But if you do care about speed, you’ll be happy to know that this car’s 0-60 mph time of 9.1 seconds is actually about the same as the original’s.
The interior, on the other hand, is a bit questionable (especially that steering wheel that has its top section cut off), but it’s still impressive how they managed to integrate all the car’s old features with its modern technology. Some of the new features includes a digital instrument cluster, an infotainment system, cruise control, and power windows, and in terms of safety, it now has airbags, ABS, power steering, and a backup camera.
Other than that, the car retains its vintage looks. The electric drive unit sits where the engine used to be, and the new suspension isn’t outwardly visible. One of the best integrations of the EV architecture, however, is the charge port hidden behind the rear license plate. The only giveaways that this is not a regular 280SE are the “all electric” badge on the trunk and the lack of engine noise.