The Audi e-tron has been at the top of our list of awesome electric cars for some time. Now there's a new contender – the SLS AMG E-CELL. Mercedes-AMG hinted at the possibility of an electric drive SLS gullwing last year and has now rolled-out a prototype which looks set for small series production. Along with a very hard to miss fluorescent "AMG lumilectric magno" paint job, the prototype features four electric motors positioned near each of the wheels which produce 392 kW and 880 Nm of instantaneous torque and acceleration of zero to 100 km/h in 4 seconds – just 0.2 seconds under the performance of the 6.3-litre V8 SLS AMG.
Instead of hub motors, the gullwing SLS E-CELL uses four compact electric motors positioned near to the wheels (two for each axle) to reduce unsprung weight. Each motor achieve a maximum rpm of 12,000/rpm for a combined output of 392 kW.
The electric-drive SLS retains the lightweight aluminum spaceframe as its petrol driven sibling but the suspension has been altered to accommodate the electric drivetrain. The double wishbone axle makes way for an independent multilink suspension with horizontal damper struts operated via separate push rods and transfer levers.
In addition to regenerative braking in the motors, the SLS E-CELL gets over-sized, carbon fibre-strengthened ceramic brakes which reduce weight and improve stopping distance and steering response through high speed bends.
Power is delivered to the wheels via an electronic control system that converts the direct current from the high-voltage battery into three-phase alternating current for the synchronous motors. The use of four motors allows for an intelligently controlled, permanent all-wheel drive system that maximizes traction, handling and safety.
There are two separate cooling systems – one for the electric motors and the power electronics and one for the battery. An electric heating element helps get the battery up to operating temperature when the weather is cold and on the other end of the scale, battery cooling can be boosted by the air conditioning system on hot days.
"The gullwing offers the prospect of a possible small series production run and at the same time reflects the innovative strength and development competence of the AMG performance brand," says Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. "We take social responsibility very seriously and with the SLS AMG E-CELL we are demonstrating a further milestone in our 'AMG Performance 2015' strategy. It is our goal to continually reduce the fuel consumption and emissions of new models in the coming years, while at the same time enhancing the core brand value of performance."
Ed's Note: a boatload of fantastic new pics have just been released - check out the AMG SLS E-CELL gallery.
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