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Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: An electric supercar

Mercedes-Benz has today confirmed that it is working on an electric version of its forthcoming gull-wing supercar, the SLS AMG.

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Derek Fung

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Coming soonish, maybe

Mercedes-Benz has today confirmed that it is working on an electric version of its forthcoming gull-wing supercar, the SLS AMG.

Instead of just one central motor, the electric SLS will feature a motor for each wheel. Combined output is rated at 392kW of power and 880Nm of torque. This should be good enough to see it from 0 to 100km/h in about four seconds.

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Spine with ticker

A set of Lithium-ion batteries, with a capacity of 40-amp hours at 400V, is located along the gull-wing's spine. There are four "power electronics" black boxes located throughout, two up front where a petrol engine would normally sit and two behind the passengers' seats. Sitting along each axle are two electric motors and gearboxes, one for each wheel.

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More traction

As it's four-wheel drive and torque can be electronically apportioned to each wheel individually, the electric SLS should have fantastic traction.

This, by the way, is a petrol SLS prototype undergoing cold weather testing.

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Coming soon

We mightn't know when the rich and famous will be able to buy an electric SLS, but we do know that a conventionally powered SLS will go on sale overseas in the second quarter of 2010.

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It's tight in there

Space will be at a premium underneath the petrol SLS' bonnet as an AMG developed 420kW 6.3-litre V8 will be living there. The petrol version will be rear-wheel drive, with the transmission out the back to help weight distribution.

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Haven't I see you before?

No word yet on pricing, although naturally a lot of zeroes in your bank account (before the decimal point) are a prerequisite. The entire dash is covered in the skin from dead cows and the metal accents should all be real. Mind you, much of the boring stuff, like the switches, and entertainment and air-con units will be taken directly from more garden variety Mercs.

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Take command

Next to the buttons that make the car start, go faster and ride harder, and below the shifter, is the optional turn and push Command knob that controls the sat nav and audio.

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Fast with a dash of luxury

The standard SLS will feature the usual luxury accoutrements, like a remote key, parking sensors, automatic windscreen wipers, heated seats and climate control air-conditioning. We'd bet a small bungalow that a future, sportier version will be stripped of these modern niceties.

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Seven speeds for more, uhh, speed

The petrol-powered SLS will feature a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a cruise control cum speed limiting device, so you won't lose your licence on a test drive.

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1954 300SL

The SLS AMG is directly inspired by the 300SL, a car famed for not just for its race exploits and advanced tech (like aluminium construction and direct injection), but also its distinctive gull-wing doors. The gull-wing design was used because the car's tubular chassis precluded normal doors.

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Vale SLR

Although it's a spiritual successor for the 300SL, pictured here in New York in 1954, it actually replaces the bonkers, but not universally loved, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

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