Based on an exclusive interview and originally published at BestGreenCars.com.
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E-V Concepts: Disemboweling Gas Cars since the Seventies
A bright red 2002 Mercedes-Benz SL500 launches off the line and rapidly muscles its way to 135 mph. The coupe's long hood, clean lines and classic German beauty are just like when it rolled off the assembly line. It displays the same aggressive power and agility through corners. Perhaps it's even more quick and nimble. Something's different.
Maybe it's the missing V8 roar. And 600 pounds. And exhaust pipe.
The Mercedes is an electric conversion designed by S. Monte Kase and his team at E-V Concepts in Charleston, South Carolina. A Netgain WarP 11 series wound DC motor sits where the old 5 liter used to be. 80 Thunder Sky 100 amp 3.3 volt lithium-polymer cells are mounted in the front and rear. An Evnetics Soliton controller ties the whole 260 volt system together. The car's maximum range is 75 miles.
The car retains the original 5 speed automatic. All the accessories, like the power steering and air conditioning, are still in place. It has dropped from its original curb weight of over 4100 pounds to a trim 3500. Kase and his team are NASCAR racers at heart, so extra weight is not tolerated.
Kase never met the owner of the Mercedes. They exchanged a few phone calls and emails before he converted the car and returned it. The job took 90 days for a cost of $18,000. Of the 100 clients he has built cars for, he has met perhaps 5%.
“They send the cars and I send them back,” he says.