Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell Prototype First Look
Details of the first all-electric Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell emerge, including tech specs, photos and video
by Chris Danielson | 22 June 2010
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We’ve known about the all-electric Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell for quite some time now, as Mercedes detailed the model last July, but new specs, photos and video have all emerged demonstrating in greater depth what we can expect from the forthcoming electric supercar. The biggest question – performance – is said to be nearly that of the traditional SLS AMG, with with total output coming in at 526 horsepower and 649-pound-feet of torque thanks to the E-Cell’s four electric motors. That’s enough to propel the SLS AMG E-Cell from 0-62 mph in 4.0 seconds, compared to 3.8 seconds in the standard SLS.
Structurally, the SLS AMG E-Cell remains identical to that of the current SLS AMG, with no modifications made to the model’s aluminum spaceframe. The suspension, however, is a different story, as Mercedes engineers were forced to modify the suspension to accommodate the motors up front. As a result, the SLS E-Cell employs an independent multilink suspension with pushrod damper struts, whereas the non-electric SLS employs a double wishbone suspension setup. According to Mercedes, the two model’s handling should remain nearly identical. Providing stopping power, the SLS AMG E-Cell will come standard with the current SLS AMG’s optional ceramic brakes. In addition to helping the SLS E-Cell regenerate its battery charge during braking, they also provide ample stopping power, thanks to 18.5 inch rotors up front and 14.2 inch rotors in the rear, while still coming in 40 percent lighter than their non ceramic counterparts.
Of course, as with any electric vehicles, maintaining consistent heating and cooling is an integral part in the engineering of the SLS E-Cell. Helping maintain consistent temps in a variety of operating conditions, low temperature circuits cool as necessary, as does the air conditioning in extremely warm climates. In cold conditions, an electric heater brings the battery up to the correct operating temperature.
Other unique attributes of the SLS AMG E-Cell: first, there’s a new extended front apron featuring an extendable front splitter. In combination with the rear spoiler (that extends downward over 75 mph), air travels more quickly under the vehicle, reaching the more angled diffuser (possible due to the lack of exhaust) and thus creating more downforce. Inside, the driver can control the front splitter thanks to buttons on the new AMG Drive Unit, which also houses a start button, rear spoiler control and new park, reverse, and drive buttons. Another notable highlight of the new SLS E-Cell is the radically redesigned center console, which boasts a ten-inch touch screen infotainment system, capable of operating audio, climate, and navigation functions while also monitoring the flow of power from the four electric motors. And last but not least, who can miss the “AMG lumilectric magno” paintwork? I would have settled for a somewhat more subdued option, but for a prototype, you may as well have fun with it.
At this point, the Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell is still in testing stages, meaning we still have some time to wait before the model enters production. When it does, it will likely be built in limited numbers, at least until consumers demonstrate they’re willing to forego gas in the high performance market. We’ll keep you posted as new details of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell are released; in the meantime, you can check out photos and video of the model immediately below.