1959 [sic] Mercury Coupe Electric Vehicle ICON
It's no secret that putting an electric drivetrain into a classic automobile is a good idea. Some people just execute that mission better than others. Case in point: a 1949 Mercury Coupe EV that is making its debut at the 2018 SEMA show in Las Vegas this week.
The conversion was done by ICON, which has done a number of EV conversions under the "Derelict" brand. The idea with these new/old EVs is to keep the exterior looking, well, old, while updating the powertrain to the latest and greatest. In this case, that means two electric motors that produce 470 pound-feet of torque and the equivalent of 400 horsepower. There's also an 85-kWh Tesla Performance battery array that was "strategically fit throughout the vehicle for exceptional weight balance." Two charge ports are included, a Tesla Supercharger-compatible plug where the original gas inlet used to be and a CHAdeMO 125A fast-charge plug behind the front license plate. The big battery should give this not small vehicle a range of around 150 to 200 miles and a top speed of 120 miles an hour, ICON says. ICON has worked on other EVs in the past (see this converted 1966 Fiat Giardinetta), and it partnered with Stealth EV for the '49 Mercury's new powertrain. The 4-wheel-independent chassis was developed with help from Art Morrison Enterprises.
Icon Mercury Coupe EV ICON
In keeping with the old-school look, ICON didn't just hide all the new stuff under the hood. Instead, if you open the car up, you'll see the electronics (battery controllers and some of the Tesla modules) arranged in a "traditional V-8 array with a polished and media-blasted finish for a decidedly vintage aesthetic."
According to ICON co-founder and lead designer Jonathan Ward, the idea with the classic conversion was to bring some heart and soul to electric vehicles. "Why is the aftermarket EV-conversion industry so slow to evolve and provide comprehensive systems and solutions? Why can't you have the best of both worlds: the style and quality of a vintage vehicle with modern performance and functionality?" he said in a statement. Indeed.