The high-performance Mercedes-Benz SLS has barely had a chance to spread its gullwing doors, but the German maker is already beginning to test an environmentally-friendly version of the supercar that could give the gasoline-powered SLS a run for its money.
Mercedes is setting a target date of 2013 for the launch of its SLS Electric, a lithium-ion-powered version of the 2-seat supercar. The battery model is expected to pump out a reasonably impressive 525 horsepower, but like all electric vehicles, the real story is on the tire-spinning torque side, and there the numbers soar to 649 pound-feet. Preliminary tests suggest 0 to 60 times of about four seconds.
The SLS Electric will use four separate motors, one for each wheel. The approach is more complicated and costly – but has the advantage of creating a highly controllable version of all-wheel-drive. Among other things, Mercedes engineers will program in torque vectoring, which will allow them to steer the car through a corner by directing power to one or more specific wheels.