Shortly after introducing the SLS AMG last year, Mercedes-Benz announced that it was also developing a battery electric version of the gull-wing supercar. The first prototype is now ready to be shown to the world, resplendent in bright yellow paint (AMG Lumilectric Mango to be exact – the Mopar Boys would be proud). The SLS E-Cell is propelled by a quartet of electric motors with the pair at each axle integrated with reduction gears to drive all four wheels.
Those motors, which top out at a screaming 12,000 rpm, combine to apply 526 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque to the wheels – sufficient to push the coupe to 60 miles per hour in just four seconds. The installation of the front motors necessitated the replacement of the double-wishbone suspension with a multi-link setup with push-rod dampers.
The lithium polymer batteries are split between the center tunnel and a box mounted behind the cockpit, and can provide a combined output of 480 kilowatts (643 horsepower). Two separate cooling circuits can manage the temperature of the battery packs and related power electronics by either heating or cooling the units as needed.
An extendable front splitter works with the reshaped rear diffuser to increase available downforce beyond what's possible with the standard 6.2-liter-V8-powered SLS. Inside, the electric SLS gets a 10-inch touch screen in the center console. According to reports, this is a drivable prototype, so expect driving impressions to arrive before the production model goes on sale in 2013.