Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell (photos)

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG sets a new standard in performance for the company, but rather than let this halo car sit on its own, Mercedes-Benz is developing an electric drive version, with near equal performance stats.

Wayne Cunningham
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When Mercedes-Benz showed the SLS AMG at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show, the company also said it was working on an electric version of the car. Development appears to be progressing well, as Mercedes-Benz releases photos and specs for this super green car, dubbed the SLS AMG E-Cell.
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To distinguish the SLS AMG E-Cell, Mercedes-Benz gives it this startling paint job, a fluorescent yellow-green that should discourage any development car thieves.
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The SLS AMG E-Cell uses four electric motors, one at each wheel, giving the car all-wheel-drive. Mercedes-Benz points out that it did not use hub motors, which would have added unsprung weight. Instead, the motors are set back on the car's suspension, with short axles driving the wheels.
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Mercedes-Benz uses LED headlights to save power for driving. The gasoline-powered SLS AMG has a double wishbone front suspension, but that had to be replaced with a multilink suspension to accommodate the front drive motors. All four motors combine to give the car 526 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque.
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The rear spoiler automatically deploys at speeds over 75 mph. The SLS AMG E-Cell's front diffuser also lowers at this speed, reducing the amount of air under the car. The lack of a tailpipe meant the rear diffuser could be given a steeper angle.
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As with the gasoline version, the SLS AMG E-Cell uses gullwing doors for cabin access.
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Rather than a gas filler, the car has a plug. It looks like it complies with the SAE J1772 standard for electric vehicle charging.
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Rather than an engine, the car's power controller sits under the hood, while its lithium-ion batteries reside in the transmission tunnel and in the rear of the car.
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This diagram shows the car's powertrain layout. The battery pack is made up of 320 lithium-ion polymer cells containing 48 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Mercedes-Benz has not given a range for the car, but its zero to 60 mph acceleration is 4 seconds. The gasoline version of the car hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
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Mercedes-Benz kept the luxurious feel of the cabin for the SLS AMG E-Cell. The steering is powered by an electro-hydraulic unit.
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A large touch screen on the stack offers controls for navigation, audio, and phone system. Lacking a conventional transmission, Drive, Park, and Reverse buttons adorn the console.
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Along with a power display on the center LCD, Mercedes-Benz includes this smaller display in the instrument cluster.

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