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by Tim Beissmann

The technical details of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell have been revealed ahead of the electric supercar’s low volume production run, which begins in 2013.

The SLS AMG E-Cell will be powered by four electric motors located near the wheels, providing a peak output of 392kW and 880Nm of torque. That’s just 28kW less than the conventional 6.2-litre V8-powered SLS AMG, and from a powertrain that creates no tailpipe emissions.

Crucially, however, the E-Cell boasts an additional 230Nm over its petrol twin, all of which is available from the instant you tap the throttle. The result is a 4.0-second 0-100km/h performance, leaving it just two tenths shy of the internal combustion engined SLS AMG.

The four motors achieve a maximum rotational speed of 12,000rpm. They are positioned close to the wheels – rather than in the wheel hubs – to reduce the unsprung mass, and along with the transmissions (one per axle) are positioned low in the vehicle to optimise weight distribution and lower its centre of gravity.

Torque vectoring sends power independently to all four wheels to offer maximum traction, reduce oversteer/understeer, minimise stability control intervention and enhance handling, ride comfort and safety.

Mercedes-Benz’s Formula One engineers have used their kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) expertise to assist in the development of the SLS AMG E-Cell’s high-voltage lithium-ion battery. The electric supercar features oversized carbon fibre-strengthened ceramic brake discs (402mm front, 360mm rear), which generate charge for the battery.

The E-Cell also has a redesigned front axle. Unlike the V8 version, which has a double wishbone axle, the E-Cell features an independent multi-link suspension with pushrod damper struts, to accommodate the additional drive shafts. Mercedes says the sophisticated front-axle design – used in a number of racing cars – ensures the E-Cell achieves the same levels of agility and driving dynamics as the V8 SLS AMG.

There’s still no word from Mercedes-Benz on the SLS AMG E-Cell’s range, price or production numbers. More details will be revealed closer to the car’s 2013 launch.




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