Author Topic: Electric Conversion  (Read 10840 times)

Colingo

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Electric Conversion
« on: July 10, 2022, 08:56:59 »
Hi everyone
I'm contemplating buying and converting a Pagoda to full electric. Having looked around, 230s or 250s are quite a bit cheaper than 280s, but apart from the engine, were there any major enhancements? - otherwise a 230 or 250 would be my obvious choice.

There are quite a few available at the moment, but I don't know the specific weaknesses and faults to look for. Any helpful suggestions would be welcome.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2022, 09:11:37 by Colingo »

stickandrudderman

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2022, 09:47:57 »
If you're going to lose the engine then the only thing that really matters is the condition of the shell and if you find one with a good shell it would seem a little sacriligous to modify it but hey, horses for courses I guess.

JamesL

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2022, 10:45:04 »
Our own Dan Caron has a lhd 230 shell for sale. Think you’ll need the front and rear subframes but the whole drivetrain would need to be electric: it seems that very few old transmission units can handle the torque from an electric motor
Can’t remember who did the “Iconic” conversion (stickandrudderman might as he’s had it in his shop).
James L
Oct69 RHD 280 in DB906 with cognac leather

ChrisInNashville

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2022, 10:45:36 »
First, I can’t discourage you.   While I love the sound of the engine,  breathing in my own exhaust at a stop light when the wind is right can be irritating.  For your purposes, Wikipedia can probably help…as you’ll see, converting to electric will “undo” many of the evolutions in design leaving just a handful of safety features as the difference. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_W113

In the short term, I suspect you’ll impact the investment value of the car, so you might as well make your cost basis as low as possible.  If I recall correctly, there’s a company in the UK specializing in converting pagodas, so you might put the same question to them…
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Colingo

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2022, 11:20:39 »
Hi JamesL

I'd thought the gearbox would be going, but It's also been suggested that the diff will as well. I'm thinking of a 180-220kW motor. I'm shy of doing a build from shell up. I have another classic that ran into serious bills with a moderate restoration. I'm therefore looking for restored cars.

I know many will think this sacrilegious, but I want the practicality, the ability to drive in London, reliability and enhanced performance. This will also allow my wife to drive - unlike my other classic.

Colingo

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2022, 11:23:08 »
Hi Chris

Thanks for the link - no major differences then.

MikeSimon

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2022, 11:57:32 »
230SL has rear drum brakes, 250 and 280 have 4-wheel disc.
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AdelaidePagoda

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2022, 12:20:55 »
Colingo, I am sure you have googled this topic and found many results. As you will have seen, there are several companies doing this to order e.g.

https://everrati.com/works/mercedes-280sl-pagoda/

This is a highly technical process and significant knowledge is required. There are so many variables that can go wrong in a normal Pagoda restoration that quickly adds up to an eye watering amount. Even if it all goes right, it will be an eye watering amount. Add the EV expertise required to get it roadworthy and I can confidently say this is best left to the experts. If you have a hefty budget then get in touch with Everatti and they will build one for you to your exact specifications (full disclosure I have no conflict of interest).

Let us all know what you end up doing and best of luck either way 👍🏻

Otherwise get yourself an off the shelf EV from one of the many commercial companies.
Dave Cleghorn
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Cees Klumper

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2022, 12:56:13 »
"Prices starting at $360,000" for your electrified Pagoda. Sometimes I feel like I am living in an alternate reality!
Cees Klumper
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Colingo

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2022, 13:59:15 »
Point taken about the brakes.

I have spoken to four companies specialising in Pagoda conversions with a vast spectrum of pricing - some way OTT

I already have an electric car, but like so many - a bit characterless. The only electric sports cars around are either very exotic or very large. Neither of these options fit my lifestyle.

I have contemplated other vehicles for conversion - Aston but even more expensive, Ferrari but removing its heart, Jaguar, Lancia and Alfas. The appeal here is that a Pagoda is one of the best cars Mercedes came out with and it was built when Mercedes were bomb proof (sadly no longer the case).

An article I read recently suggested there are a large number of Pagodas with bodgy restorations. If bodywork deteriorates where are the typical places?

kampala

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2022, 15:29:11 »
I assume you have seen this series of YouTube videos on converting a Pagoda to electric.  But in case you or others have not seen it:

https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLj1NdhlC39Vm6lWLoFZGn2xkFcqAwm-kZ

This is a playlist. 

Also go to final video and at 3:50 he explains the math. 
« Last Edit: July 10, 2022, 15:33:26 by kampala »
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GM

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2022, 16:23:38 »
Or you could start with a Porsche
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNyn0SYBB-c
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Garry

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2022, 00:32:48 »
There is a company in Melbourne Australia that is doing classic electric conversions for around $65k - 80k Aust dollars. Last time i was there they were working on a Landrover, an MGB and also a E Type Jag
Garry Marks
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JamesL

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2022, 06:26:39 »
If you can catch the last episode in the current series of Top Gear, they did a drag race of electric v it’s ICE equivalent. The swb Defender was done (owned) by Electric Classic Cars (Vintage Voltage). Last I spoke to them, a year back, they had 3+ years of back orders and the conversion is ~£70k + depending on spec, batteries etc.  They have done a 107 or two.

I chatted to them over this mini.  Exc resto etc, it was £60k to convert, and they owned the car https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvZdWQTOKnI
(I loved that the means of swapping between a “normal” mode and the full 300bhp was a 1970 toggle switch in the middle of the dash. )
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MikeSimon

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2022, 19:05:31 »
There are a few hidden gremlins when converting an ICE car to full electric. One is the tires, believe it or not. Just educate yourself about the tire issues with a Tesla, life and replacement....
Each his/her own but to me, there is absolutely no attraction whatsoever to convert any of my cars to EV.
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mdsalemi

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2022, 12:03:57 »
…a few hidden gremlins…issues with a Tesla...

Tesla had recalled every single car they’ve ever made, some more than once.

Great around town I suppose (when you can charge at home) but not ready for prime time and certainly not for distance driving. I just completed a 10 day vacation. About 1600 miles. 800 up and 800 back. 5 gas stops, each taking no more than 5-10 minutes, all around the highway. Impossible with any PEV yet.
Michael Salemi
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Pinder

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2022, 12:32:52 »
I think its a great idea.  Its easy to say just give it to the experts. Thats fine if you have the budget but I fail to see why it would be so difficult to do at home. the complication Tesla has are to do with self driving etc. 
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mdsalemi

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2022, 14:43:42 »
...I fail to see why it would be so difficult to do at home. the complication Tesla has are to do with self driving etc.

Um, no. Tesla has a lot more issues than their automated driving.

What many pie in the sky people don't seem to realize--and this probably started with Tucker and hasn't ended yet, is that manufacturing cars is an extremely difficult process, far more difficult than many know or understand. That's why firms like Rivian are having such troubles, despite being given tax breaks, $5B from their Texas factory alone. Or, why Lordstown Motors despite being essentially given a factory, has so far failed to launch. It's just exceedingly difficult to make cars.

Tesla bought the ole NUMMI factory that once made Toyota and GM products, and paid $0.04 on the dollar for the factory. They have, cumulatively since inception, not made money but have a pretty big accumulated deficit. They are not making money from cars, but rather--selling their regulatory credits. $3.3B in sales of these credits in the past five years, far outweighing their income from auto sales. It's like those carbon credits that the big firms trade...it's a big game that they all play because they can.

Once upon a time we didn't have filling stations all over the place, and a long distance journey was challenging. We'll get there with PEVs but we are not there yet. As for all these relatively new startups, as I said, making cars is a very difficult task.

Electrifying a shell of any ICE car in your garage is also not an easy task. For certain there are many who have done it, but like making cars for production, it's not easy.

It's perfect for the engineering minded who like challenges however!!
Michael Salemi
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Benz Dr.

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2022, 15:24:43 »
The foot print for electric cars is larger than one might think. It's the manufacturing of batteries where that comes into play and the more powerful the battery, the bigger the print. It's kind of like moving the deck chairs around on the Titantic, it's still not gonna float.

But, we have been able to find the wreck and ponder upon the hubris of the past.
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Paul & Dolly

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2022, 18:29:00 »
As you are UK based you could watch the TV programme "vintage voltage" they like to use Tesla motors for their conversions, I have not been impressed with some of their Engineering though.
Hemnels here in Cardiff also done electric Pagodas, probably quite expensive
Good luck
Paul
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Colingo

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2022, 08:42:12 »
Hi Paul and Dolly

You are highlighting the two extremes of conversion. Hemmels are circa £270k for an electric version - very expensive, but the cars are as new or better and they are doing a run of electric Pagodas and therefore more likely to have worked out the bugs. The Vintage Voltage cars are from Electric Classic Cars mentioned earlier in this thread and seem to be the largest UK conversion company, but in considerable demand with a 2yr waiting list.

GM

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2022, 16:00:20 »
Last year I did a deep dive into EV conversion.
In the UK, ZeroEV looks to be the best - per my Porsche post earlier
https://zero-ev.co.uk/

Gary
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Colingo

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2022, 16:41:26 »
Hi GM

On your Porsche suggestion - there does seem to be a number of companies doing 911 conversions, I have owned a 911 for many years and prefer to move on. I was initially excited about the Taycan until I found out how big it is - useless for London parking and UK country lanes.

I've just looked at zero-ev. There's very little to go on from their website. I can't even find out where they are and they don't give a phone number. How far along the track did you go, and why do recommend them? Maybe I'll try and contact them.

GM

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2022, 17:25:38 »
Hi,
I was looking into converting a Porsche to EV so looked into all the major players and sources from around the world. I was interested in it until I learned that the EV kit itself (parts only) was £55k. The other big takeaway for me was that the industry, and particularly battery technology, are changing rapidly. Power densities are improving all the time. Oh, and other than Tesla (who doesn't want to share their tech), China is eating our lunch in battery technology - see CATL and BYD.
I have no personal interest in ZeroEV, but they just seemed to be the most professional and experienced of all the sources I reviewed.
Check this out - they've got YouTube videos of their builds - https://www.youtube.com/c/ZeroEV
This is an excellent conversion, but the batteries are no longer available (see above) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJLdzRJdKrs
Good luck to you - pm me if you want/need more info and sources. No sense bogging down the Pagoda group with this.
Gary
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Merc_Girl

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Jonny B

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2022, 15:03:27 »
Wonder what kind of range it has?? Living room to garage and back??
Jonny B
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Colingo

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2022, 08:21:42 »
Jokes aside, the next thing to work out for my 64 230 conversion, is the weight of everything that comes out, the engine, gearbox, manifolds, exhaust, radiator, alternator, injector pump, petrol tank and all fluids. I'll be keeping the prop-shaft and diff. I need these weights to calculate the battery weight I can add back without changing the handling and suspension. Does anyone know any of these numbers, or point me in the right direction to find them?

GM

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2022, 16:46:55 »
EV4U did a 1964 230SL conversions - here's the summary of the before and after summary, which includes weights, etc.
Starts at about 4:00
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGuYMYk0xd8&list=PLj1NdhlC39Vm6lWLoFZGn2xkFcqAwm-kZ&index=15
Gary
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Colingo

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2022, 12:15:36 »
Hi

Trouble with that conversion is that he's starting out with a V8.

Colingo

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2022, 10:51:30 »
Conversion Update

I've done quite a bit of research since my last post. I've spoken to numerous companies about batteries, motors, inverters and gearboxes (all required for the conversion). A lot of the components available are unfortunately from China. I'm trying to stick with UK/US options although the batteries I'm going to use will probably be LG from Poland. There are multiple choices on motors, but not many on gearboxes which contrary to widely held opinions are needed for electric cars. One option might have been to stick with a manual gearbox and use that, but I bought an automatic! Most motors run between 12,000 to 20,000 rpm. For a maximum speed of 100mph (more than enough for me) the final drive ratio needs to be between 8→15:1 to optimise the available performance of the motor. The diff ratio is obviously part of this. Anyway, I've got a lot of this stuff and can share it with anyone who's interested.
As far as conversion companies are concerned I've decided upon a UK company called Electrogenic who are not very far from me in Oxfordshire. I did also come across a US company called Moment Motors in Texas who've been very helpful and are actually doing a run of converted Pagodas.
A significant portion of the conversion process is learning the idiosyncrasies of the particular car and this comes with a cost. Sharing the cost with more than one car has advantages. So, anyone else out there in the UK fancy converting their Pagoda?

AdelaidePagoda

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #30 on: September 19, 2022, 03:58:52 »
Delighted to hear that you continue to learn, and share, with us that are interested in EV conversions. It is great to vicariously be along for the journey and I look forward to hearing more updates as you progress down this path.
I have a Tesla so know the benefits of EV, although would want to make sure your Pagoda conversion is plug and play for the next battery etc. as that car will be around a lot longer than a Tesla.
Dave Cleghorn
January 1964 230SL 4SPD Power Steering
050 050 Black Soft top, Red Leather interior
Italian delivered/ Germany/ Florida/ Boston/ Sydney/ Adelaide (5th owner)

Model S Tesla
Vespa

Colingo

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #31 on: September 19, 2022, 09:45:29 »
Dave

I think you have to own an EV to appreciate the potential benefits of a conversion. I own an i-Pace which suits me for my regular London commute. I look forward to doing similar trips in my Merc.

I am concerned with future proofing the conversion. A lot of conversions use low voltages 100→200V which are only compatible with slow charge rates. At the other extreme are 800→900V systems that charge at up to 250kW, but the systems and the chargers aren't readily available. A 900V inverter is also very expensive ~ £15,000.  I'm opting for a 400V system that allows charging at 50kW. I'm planning a 62kWh battery, so as you can imagine, there's not too much waiting around to get significant charge although probably not as good as your Tesla.

On a more fun aspect, I've been looking at potential performance. A 280 will put out 240Nm maximum and in 1st gear there is a 4:1 ratio, so the diff sees 960Nm for the brief moment revs go through 4,000. My conversion will offer close to this (800-900Nm) from zero to 50mph - should be fun without breaking the diff.

AdelaidePagoda

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2022, 23:42:49 »
Wow! Please keep me up to date as this is a brave, expensive and exciting ride that you are taking us all on. You are very wise looking into all the future proofing issues. This landscape is changing fast and you do not want to invest $$$$ and find out it is obsolete technology in a few years and have to start again. The future will show that EV conversion companies will rapidly expand for those with the funds to mix sentimentality with the future of electric drive trains.

There will always be petrol cars in our lifetimes, particularly classics, although as we are seeing from all car manufacturers, EV demand is increasing and is where they see their growth. In summary, I respect my Tesla, but love my Pagoda.
Dave Cleghorn
January 1964 230SL 4SPD Power Steering
050 050 Black Soft top, Red Leather interior
Italian delivered/ Germany/ Florida/ Boston/ Sydney/ Adelaide (5th owner)

Model S Tesla
Vespa

MikeSimon

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2022, 19:32:09 »
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner

Colingo

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #34 on: October 07, 2022, 13:17:52 »
Hi Mike

I agree with the sentiment of that article. I wouldn't convert a Ferrari V8/V12, but I believe a humble 2.3 straight 6 in a beautiful car is ripe for conversion.

AdelaidePagoda

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2022, 05:27:11 »
Agreed, probably best done on a donor car (any model) with a non-original motor, gearbox etc. Keep the matching number sets together for future generations and improve/ experiment on those that have lost their investment lustre.
Dave Cleghorn
January 1964 230SL 4SPD Power Steering
050 050 Black Soft top, Red Leather interior
Italian delivered/ Germany/ Florida/ Boston/ Sydney/ Adelaide (5th owner)

Model S Tesla
Vespa

ejboyd5

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2022, 15:50:20 »
Both you and your murse will regret any such conversion. If you must have an electric vehicle, purchase one already completed and spare a Pagoda for those who appreciate it as is.

MikeSimon

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2022, 11:47:28 »
Both you and your murse will regret any such conversion. If you must have an electric vehicle, purchase one already completed and spare a Pagoda for those who appreciate it as is.

Well said! I am always amazed how many people out there think they are able to "re-engineer" a vintage or classic vehicle and come up with a better result than the original designers. This doesn't apply to electrification only, of course.
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AdelaidePagoda

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #38 on: October 10, 2022, 05:06:37 »
For the avoidance of any doubt, my comments do not advocate or fully endorse a conversion to electric in a good condition matching numbers Pagoda, as I too am a purist. However we live in a world where change in automotive technology is advancing (batteries) and the cost and availability of repairs to their older original petrol engines and fuel pumps is almost uneconomical or unviable. In addition some Pagoda’s, for one reason or another, have reached the point of no economic return and sadly will be lost to the community.
Now if there is someone with deep pockets is willing to invest in bringing it back to automotive life and provide an externally eye pleasing Pagoda, with the benefits of zero emissions, then I think we could all see some small benefit in that rather than lose it forever.
100% agreed, you cannot improve on the original. #bracq
Dave Cleghorn
January 1964 230SL 4SPD Power Steering
050 050 Black Soft top, Red Leather interior
Italian delivered/ Germany/ Florida/ Boston/ Sydney/ Adelaide (5th owner)

Model S Tesla
Vespa

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #39 on: November 25, 2022, 19:36:57 »
Want an electric conversion? Be prepared to pay big money
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/the-hack-mechanic/want-an-electric-conversion-be-prepared-to-pay-big-money/
Also discusses the practicalities of a conversion
Gary
1971 280SL - Sold
(98 from the end of production)
DB180 Silver Gray Metallic
Black MB Tex

mdsalemi

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2022, 13:05:29 »
In the current issue (#41, Winter 2022) that just arrived of Classic Mercedes magazine, page 7, there’s a short mention of “Watt a W113”…

UK Mercedes restorer Hilton & Moss has completed one with Everrati Automotive doing the electrified power train.

Priced around £300,000.

NOT a one-off; they are happy to take your bespoke order.
Michael Salemi
Davidson, North Carolina (Charlotte Area) USA
1969 280SL (USA-Spec)
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
2023 Ford Maverick Lariat Hybrid "Area 51"
2022 Ford Escape Hybrid
2023 Ford Escape Hybrid

Benz Dr.

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  • Benz Dr.
Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #41 on: December 05, 2022, 14:58:29 »
For the avoidance of any doubt, my comments do not advocate or fully endorse a conversion to electric in a good condition matching numbers Pagoda, as I too am a purist. However we live in a world where change in automotive technology is advancing (batteries) and the cost and availability of repairs to their older original petrol engines and fuel pumps is almost uneconomical or unviable. In addition some Pagoda’s, for one reason or another, have reached the point of no economic return and sadly will be lost to the community.
Now if there is someone with deep pockets is willing to invest in bringing it back to automotive life and provide an externally eye pleasing Pagoda, with the benefits of zero emissions, then I think we could all see some small benefit in that rather than lose it forever.
100% agreed, you cannot improve on the original. #bracq

What's with this matching numbers stuff?  :) In a Hemi 'Cuda it makes a difference, but our cars?
1966 230SL 5 speed, LSD, header pipes, 300SE distributor, ported, polished and balanced, AKA  ''The Red Rocket ''
Dan Caron's SL Barn

1970  3.5 Coupe
1961  190SL
1985   300CD  Turbo Coupe
1981  300SD
2013  GMC  Sierra
1965  230SL
1967 250SL
1970 280SL
1988 560SEC

BobH

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  • United Kingdom, England, MALDON
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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #42 on: May 08, 2024, 19:01:54 »
https://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/everrati-mercedes-benz-sl-pagoda/

£ 400K plus a donor car, just a crazy price to me, but i expect there's plenty who'll pay it
« Last Edit: May 08, 2024, 19:07:14 by BobH »
February 1965 230SL Automatic
UK delivered RHD
Papyrus white, blue hard top & hub caps
Blue soft top
Blue leather

mdsalemi

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Re: Electric Conversion
« Reply #43 on: June 24, 2024, 11:55:16 »
And in other “shocking” news, Everrati https://everrati.com/ is now offering “a new package to help customers meet the £300,000+ cost. Through Charles & Dean Finance, they can sign up for lease purchase, allowing much reduced monthly payments, with a final ‘balloon’ payment at the end of the contract.”

https://www.charlesanddean.com/

PS: Queue forms on the left. 😉

Michael Salemi
Davidson, North Carolina (Charlotte Area) USA
1969 280SL (USA-Spec)
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
2023 Ford Maverick Lariat Hybrid "Area 51"
2022 Ford Escape Hybrid
2023 Ford Escape Hybrid