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Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive – the world's fastest production electric supercar

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September 28, 2012

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive (Image: Mercedes-Benz)

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive (Image: Mercedes-Benz)

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Mercedes-Benz and AMG have been teasing us with the prospect of an all-electric supercar since the SLS AMG E-Cell concept broke cover in 2010. Now at the Paris Motor Show, Mercedes has presented the public with an all-electric SLS that's set to become the fastest production electric supercar in the world when it hits the road next year.

In designing the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive, Mercedes-AMG took a few crib notes from the Formula 1 racing world. Not only does the body and drivetrain use F1 technology, the designers also adopted the racing maxim of starting with the the drive engineering and working their way out. For the SLS, the electric drivetrain is the focus. The battery is located within a carbon-fiber monocoque that acts as the cars spine around which the aluminum spaceframe body is built. To keep the center of gravity low, the battery compartment is close to the ground and spread along the length of the car to keep the weight distributed.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive (Image: Mercedes-Benz)

The profile shows the SLS’s heritage with echoes of the Mercedes-Benz SL marque of the 1950s. There’s the same balance between cab and body that says that this thing moves like a stabbed rat. Never mind that when you lift that landing-deck sized bonnet you'll be greeted by a set of carbon fiber panels instead of a V8 engine.

The interior of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive (Image: Mercedes-Benz)

The interior has a definite racing cockpit feel to it and for all its stitched black leather and carbon-fiber trim elements, the atmosphere is one of of German engineering efficiency. This being an electric, the instrument cluster doesn't have a rev counter. Instead, there’s a power display that goes on about power requirements, recuperation status, transmission modes and battery charge. There’s also high-speed internet access and a range of system data displays that will tell you more than you probably want to know about the car’s status and performance.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive (Image: Mercedes-Benz)

But the center of all this is what makes the SLS go. Instead of a massive petrol engine, there are four synchronous electric motors weighing 45 kilograms (99 lbs) each turning at 13,000 rpm. Combined they put out 740 bhp (552 kW) and 1000 Nm (727 foot pounds) of torque. Taking full advantage of the fact that electrics have maximum torque when taking off, the SLS does 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in 3.9 seconds. Top speed is 155 mph (250 km/h), which is pretty good while hauling 548 kilograms (1,208 lbs) of lithium-ion batteries. The maximum range of the SLS is 250 kilometers (155 miles).

This quartet of motors are linked selectively by an axially-arranged transmission design for something called “AMG Torque Dynamics.” This allows individual control of the electric motors and selectively distributes the forces for each individual wheel. which can be individually driven and braked. This improves handling and performance, especially on corners where battery-heavy supercars have a hard time of it. There are also three transmission modes - Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus.

Where the engine would have been on the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive (Image:...

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive’s uses Formula 1 high-voltage lithium-ion batteries rated at 60 kWh and 400 volts and were developed by Mercedes-AMG GmbH in Affalterbach, Germany and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains Ltd. in Brixworth, UK. The twelve modules of batteries are liquid cooled and have a heating system to keep them at an optimum temperature in cold weather. While driving, the SLS increases range by charging the batteries through electrical recuperation during deceleration. At home, the SLS charges in 20 hours from a standard mains outlet and can charge in three hours with an optional 22 kW wall box.

Of course an electric supercar isn't going to sound as fearsome as its ICE powered brethren, and since this isn't any fun, Mercedes AMG has installed eleven loudspeakers in the SLS that makes it sound like a “real” car; all coughs and growls tuned to the appropriate driving conditions. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive may make a satisfactory bellow when roaring down the Autobahn, but bear in mind that its prerecorded.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive (Image: Mercedes-Benz)

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive hits the market in 2013. The price in Germany will be 416,500 euros (US$ 535,869). And if the "AMG electricbeam magno" matt paint finish doesn't appeal, there are five other colors to choose from.

Source: Daimler

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
10 Comments

Looks cheap it misses something

Bigbrother Iswatchingu
28th September, 2012 @ 03:14 am PDT

Still not an electric fan, but leave it to Merc to make one of this caliber! Very good job Mercedes. WAY spendy though? :-)

mrhuckfin
28th September, 2012 @ 04:31 am PDT

Ya, I'll buy one (or, as they would like, lease one) when the price leaves the oil-sheik orbit. Meantime 150km (presume this is the max at the pedestrian Euro driving cycle) is a little slim for the price, regardless of how race-oriented the build philosophy...

The batteries in a stright line down the middle is a great idea, as is four-corner control from inboard (axial) transmission.

Mirmillion
28th September, 2012 @ 07:54 am PDT

What a great way to show off how rich I am by driving this puppy from LA to Santa Barbara ... oh, wait, 150 mile limit means I'll need to stop halfway back to charge up.

Bob Fately
28th September, 2012 @ 09:54 am PDT

MB is simply waiting for usable, cost-effective ultra-caps to extend the range, in my very-far-from-humble opinion.

Facebook User
28th September, 2012 @ 11:56 am PDT

Not impressive. You can get about the same 0 to 100 kph acceleration, 300 mile range and more interior space for about a 5th the cost. Also a car I think looks better. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

FredExII
28th September, 2012 @ 01:51 pm PDT

the new joke is she can't out run the power plug!

155 miles is not a big issue, except needs several hrs to fill up again.

unless the batt can be swapped like luggages.

In the old days my bro's 74 vette 454 has a 10 ish gal tank, so the cruising range is not all that far off. Just the vette takes as long as u grab a pop and a leak u can fire her up all ready for another hr of fun.

Jimbo Jim
28th September, 2012 @ 03:29 pm PDT

I thought this was way cool until I read about the loudspeakers emulating a "real" engine...so why the “electric drive” nameplate?

MB should at least make the sound user programmable, like...

GE turbofan

Corliss steam engine

Saturn V booster rocket

woman screaming “look out!”

etc...

Jay Wilson
28th September, 2012 @ 06:40 pm PDT

This is an electric car, so why does it have a grill (or fake grill?)? For this price I would think that you could expect some integrity in design.

Tesla makes a better e-car for 1/10th the price, although it too has a pseudo grill.

Mark Uzick
29th September, 2012 @ 01:40 am PDT

This car looks exactly like any other AMG coupe, so to suggest "form follows function" is plainly untruthful. Besides, vehicle manufacturers have proven numerous times over that they can easily make function follow form. That's why Buell rear suspension is down by the kickstand - if you want to, you can put any function pretty much anywhere and in pretty much whatever shape you want.

Grunchy
1st October, 2012 @ 12:07 pm PDT
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