Mercedes-Benz shows off its green supercar

Mercedes-Benz released photos and specs for the electric version of its SLS AMG, called the SLS AMG E-Cell.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell
Mercedes-Benz showed off the electric version of its SLS AMG supercar, in fluorescent yellow-green. Mercedes-Benz

When Mercedes-Benz showed off its new SLS AMG supercar at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show, the company said it would also build an electric version of the SLS. We promptly ignored that claim as lip service to green pressure, and proceeded to drool over the truly stunning SLS AMG.

But now Mercedes-Benz has released photos and specs for the SLS AMG E-Cell, teaching us not to dismiss Mercedes-Benz's intentions as idle plans.

This vehicle uses the SLS AMG's body and most of its original suspension, but replaces the 6.3-liter V-8 engine with four electric motors, one positioned near each wheel. Combined with a 400-volt lithium ion battery pack producing 48 kilowatt hours, the SLS AMG E-Cell gets to 60 mph in 4 seconds, just .3 seconds slower than the gasoline-powered version.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell instruments.
Mercedes-Benz includes this power display in the instrument cluster. Mercedes-Benz

The four electric motors and battery pack give this electric supercar 526 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque, a little less than the 563 horsepower afforded by the gasoline engine. Unlike the SLS AMG, the SLS AMG E-Cell has all-wheel-drive due to the four electric motors, which could give it a cornering advantage.

Mercedes-Benz has not mentioned the SLS AMG E-Cell's range.

The SLS AMG E-Cell keeps the ceramic brakes of its gasoline equivalent, but also gets regenerative braking. Further, liquid cooling and a heating element keep the battery pack at optimum temperature for long life.

Mercedes-Benz has not announced plans to produce the SLS AMG E-Cell. The car serves as an early attempt by Mercedes-Benz's performance division to show it can remain relevant in a post-fossil-fuel era.

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