What you see here is a 41 horsepower plug-in hybrid from 1982. No, Mercedes wasn't serious about it.
Remember the BMW 1602 packed with batteries from 1972? Well, this is something similar from a decade later. For the 32nd annual Hanover Trade Fair, Mercedes-Benz wanted to demonstrate that they too realized how serious the Oil Crisis was. So, they made a very slow car.
The W123 estate looked like any other until you reached the C pillar. Behind that, Mercedes experts will notice that the rear windows were shorter in order to accommodate metal air vents, and that the fuel door located on the right quarter panel was significantly larger than the one found on regular cars. That's because it had a 1,322 pound water-cooled nickel-iron battery pack, which was cutting age technology at the time.
The electric motor was in the engine bay, and it sent all 41 horsepower to the rear wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission which featured a friction clutch controlled by the accelerator pedal instead of a hydraulic torque converter. The car also had exhaust pipe since Mercedes jammed a two-cylinder engine in there as well that acted as a range extender. It gave the W123 an extra 30 extremely-time-consuming miles.
They continued testing this featherweight prototype well into 1983, but since there were way too many drawbacks, the project was shelved.
Who would have though there was a W123 slower than the 54 horsepower 200D?
Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz. Source: Ran When Parked