Mercedes-Benz has officially confirmed the rumors that have been floating around in recent days – it will build an electrically powered version of its upcoming SLS gullwing coupe. The EV version of the SLS will drive all four wheels by means of an individual motor for each corner. It will not however use wheel hub motors, since those add too much unsprung mass. The motors will be mounted just inboard of the suspension components.
Energy will be stored in a 48 kWh liquid cooled lithium ion battery pack running down the central tunnel. The combined output of the electric drive system is 392 kW (526 hp) and 880 Nm (649 lb-ft), which compares to 420 kW (563 hp) and 649 Nm (479 lb-ft) for the 6.3-liter V8 in the conventional SLS. Mercedes claims it will accelerate to 62 mph in four seconds. No range is being quoted at this time, but given that the battery capacity is lower than the Tesla Roadster and the car is larger, it will likely be well under 200 miles. No timeline for the electric version is being quoted, although earlier rumors placed it at 2015.
One of the reasons that Daimler said it was investing $50 million in Tesla Motors was the upstart’s ability to move quickly and develop systems faster than could be done at Daimler. Given that, we may well see the electric SLS sooner rather than later.