This chrome blue Mercedes SLS you see here is not a badly tuned version of the German super car. It is the SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive, a full electric variant of the mighty SLS, set for market launch in 2013. Now, apart from the color, this is our kind of electric car. It has four meaty electric motors, which make a total 552 kW and a maximum torque of 1000 Nm; It does zero to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds; and it costs 416,500 EUR!
Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, UK, the electric SLS uses an axially-arranged transmission design which has the complicated job of controlling each electric motor on each of the wheels, and distribute the power in the most efficient way.
The motors are fed y a battery pack consisting of 12 modules each comprising 72 lithium-ion cells. This optimised arrangement of a total of 864 cells has benefits not only in terms of best use of the installation space, but also in terms of performance.
Each SLS Electric comes with a wall box, or fast charger, that provides a 22 kW quick-charge function, which is the same as the charging performance available at a public charging station. It kind of imperative for the car to have this, because without the wall box, charging it takes up to 20 hours! Mercedes has not yet revealed the effective range of the vehicle on one charge.
The Electric Drive SLS is powerful for sure, but it’s also pretty heavy. That made tuning the chassis a real challenge for the engineers. They invented something called “Torque Dynamics” which refers to individual control of the electric motors, something which enables completely new levels of freedom to be achieved. The AMG Torque Dynamics feature boasts a great deal of variability and individuality by offering three different transmission modes:
- Comfort (C): comfortable, forgiving driving characteristics
- Sport (S): sporty, balanced driving characteristics
- Sport plus (S+): sporty, agile driving characteristics
Then there was the concern about safety, for which the SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive makes use of an eight-stage safety design. This comprises the following features:
- all high-voltage cables are colour-coded in orange to prevent confusion
- comprehensive contact protection for the entire high-voltage system
- the lithium-ion battery is liquid-cooled and accommodated in a high-strength aluminium housing within the carbon-fibre zero-intrusion cell
- conductive separation of the high-voltage and low-voltage networks within the vehicle and integration of an interlock switch
- active and passive discharging of the high-voltage system when the ignition is switched to “off”
- in the event of an accident, the high-voltage system is switched off within fractions of a second
- continuous monitoring of the high-voltage system for short circuits with potential compensation and insulation monitors
- redundant monitoring function for the all-wheel drive system with torque control for individual wheels, via several control units using a variety of software
The car also has massive carbon ceramic brakes measuring at 402 x 39 mm at the front and 360 x 32 mm at the rear.
Now, one thing the SLS owners are definitely worried about is the sound of this car. But AMg has thought of that, and fitted the car with a Power button in the AMG DRIVE UNIT. It allows the occupants to experience a tailor-made driving sound for each driving situation: incredibly dynamic when accelerating, subdued when cruising and as equally characteristic during recuperation. Even the start up noise is tailor made. It is fake, obviously, but as long as it works, who cares.
The SLS Electric Drive has all the amenities the normal SLS has. The only addition is a new display unit which shows relevant information such as:
- vehicle energy flow
- battery charge status
- burrent range
- AMG Torque Dynamics
- temperatures of the battery and motors
- energy consumption kWh/100 km