Mercedes-Benz unveils electric SLS AMG E-Cell

The SLS E-Cell prototype is very, very yellow

Mercedes promised an electric version of their SLS AMG supercar at the launch, and here it is.

Mercedes promised an electric version of their SLS AMG supercar at launch, and now they've revealed a fully functional prototype electric SLS called the E-Cell. What they didn't tell us was how yellow it would be.

The E-Cell is powered by four electric motors at each wheel, which when combined, produce 392 kW or 526 hp to you and I. This is a few down on the gas powered version, but torque is up 170 lb ft to a monstrous 649 lb ft. The motors are capable of spinning up to 12,000 rpm, and the front double wishbone suspension has been replaced by an independent multilink setup in order to accommodate them.

Power to the motors is supplied by lithium polymer batteries located in the transmission tunnel and behind the rear seats, which keeps the center of gravity as low as possible. Zero to sixty comes in four seconds, a mere 0.2 seconds behind the V8 powered car.

Not a lot of details about recharging were announced, but the E-Cell will have plug in capabilities and an energy recuperation system of some sort.

The lack of a V8 under the hood has allowed Mercedes to make some interesting aerodynamic tweaks to aid performance and cooling. The motors are cooled by two cooling circuits, while an extendable front splitter, which is adjustable from the cockpit, controls underbody airflow.

It might seem unusual for AMG to embrace electric power, but when the advantages of electric power are taken into consideration, specifically maximum torque from zero rpm, it's easy to see how the E-Cell could fit in nicely in the AMG pantheon of head snapping V8s. Expect to see the E-Cell in show rooms by 2013.