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Paris Motor Show 2012: Mercedes SLS Electric Drive

More powerful than the petrol variant, twice the price...

One of the big surprises at the Paris Motor Show yesterday was the unveiling of the Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive (ED) – a car that Mercedes claims is the most powerful production EV in the world. Looking exactly the same as the petrol powered car, Mercedes promise exceptional performance, handling and range from the SLS ED. The ED is powered by four 185 hp motors, one for each wheel making it a 740 hp four wheel drive SLS. Visually the only difference between the ED and the SLS AMG are the snazzier front grilles and the lack of tailpipes, we're not sure if the slightly tacky chrome blue paint will be an option or not.

Each motor weighs 45 kg and combined they give an impressive 738 lb/ft of torque at zero rpm. This makes the ED 177 hp and 259 lb/ft more powerful than the petrol powered SLS. This would be hugely impressive, but of course the 60 kWh lithium-ion, liquid-cooled battery pack adds a huge amount to the weight of the car – an extra 548 kg no less, which when added to the 180 kg of the motors makes for a rather heavy vehicle. But Mercedes have managed to keep the weight down to almost the same as the petrol car by utilising an aluminium and carbon structure for the ED.

The SLS Electric Drive has been fitted with two independent gearboxes that provide direct drive to each axle, while the AMG Torque Dynamics system is capable of providing selective drive to individual wheels, based on the type of traction available, and it does this via the same three different modes as in the petrol SLS: Comfort, Sport and Sport+.

Mercedes claims that the SLS ED can do the 0-62 mph sprint in 3.9 seconds onto a limited top speed of 155 mph. They also claim a range of 250 km for the electric supercar, though we’d imagine that won’t be at the 155 mph top speed…

The SLS AMG’s double wishbone front suspension has been ditched in favour of a pushrod configuration that uses horizontally-mounted dampers and springs. The SLS Electric Drive rides on exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels with 265/35 tires at the front axle and 20-inch wheels with 295/30 tires at the back.

Scheduled to arrive next year, the Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive will have a starting price in Germany of 416,500 euros (including VAT). Other market prices are yet to be announced.

Images courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more