Mercedes and its performance arm AMG gave us a tantalising glimpse of the electric sports car of the maybe-not-so-distant future today with a cryptic outline of a new SLS AMG with electric drive. The Gull-winged electric SLS AMG uses four in-wheel electric motors with a combined peak output of 392 kW and a maximum torque of 880 Nm. By comparison, the current 6.3-litre V8-engined SLS AMG develops 420 kW, so performance will not be lacking.
The four electric motors are positioned near the wheels, substantially reducing the unsprung masses compared to wheel-hub motors. One transmission per axle transmits the power. This intelligent all-wheel-drive system allows dynamically optimised power transmission without any losses by means of Torque Vectoring – in other words the specifically targeted acceleration of individual wheels. In its first pilot phase, the SLS AMG with electric drive incorporates a liquid-cooled high-voltage lithium-ion battery of modular design with an energy content of 48 kWh and a capacity of 40 Ah. The 400-volt battery is charged by means of targeted recuperation during braking whilst the car is being driven.
When it comes to dynamics, the electrically driven SLS AMG delivers an unequivocal statement: the swing-wing model accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in around 4 seconds – putting it on the same high level as the SLS AMG with a 6.3-litre V8 engine developing 420 kW/571 hp.
"With the SLS AMG with electric drive, we wanted to redefine the super sports car. For us, it is not just about responsibility. We attach just as much importance to excitement and classic AMG performance," says Volker Mornhinweg, Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
The purely electric drive system was factored into the equation as early as the concept phase when the new swing-wing model was being developed by Mercedes-Benz and AMG. It is ideally packaged for the integration of the high-performance, zero-emission technology: by way of example, the four electric motors and the two transmissions can be positioned near the wheels and very low down in the vehicle. The same applies to the modular high-current battery, whose modules are located in front of the firewall, in the centre tunnel and behind the seats. Advantages of this solution include the vehicle's low centre of gravity and the balanced weight distribution – ideal conditions for optimum handling, which the electrically powered SLS AMG shares with its petrol-driven sister model.
The installation of the drive components required no changes whatsoever to the swing-wing model's aluminium spaceframe body. And there were just as few constraints when it came to maintaining the excellent level of passive safety and high degree of long-distance comfort that are hallmarks of Mercedes cars.
The electrically powered SLS AMG sees Mercedes-Benz and AMG continuing to pursue their aim of minimising the amount of time it takes to bring about the electrification of the car. Their strategic involvement in Deutsche Accumotive GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture between Daimler AG and Evonik Industries AG, will provide the battery technology. Daimler has the leading role in this joint venture for the development and production of batteries and battery systems for automotive applications.