BREAKING NEWS

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Mercedes-Benz SLS Gullwing E-Cell, an All Electric Torque Monster

The SLS from AMG gets a torque upgrade of colossal proportions

Mercedes-Benz’s all electric version of the SLS Gullwing coupe comes in at 649lb-ft of torque, besting the gas version by better than 25%.

Mercedes-Benz in-house tuner AMG only recently unleashed their retro-cool SLS Gullwing on the motoring masses, but already the company announced it’s latest variation of the fantastically desirable car in the form of the all-electric version dubbed the “E-Cell”.  If the dino powered SLS is the stuff of dreams, then the E-Cell is the stuff of nightmares…. for it’s competitors hoping to outgun it in the performance arena.  Whereas the gas powered SLS claims 479 lb-ft of torque, the electric E-Cell produces an astonishing 649 lb-ft of road ripping, neck slamming force, an increase of over 25%.  True, the E-Cell is downgraded in the horsepower department by churning out only 526hp compared to 571 for the gasser, but will you even notice a few fewer horses have left the barn when you are repaving vast portions of your favorite highway in sticky black ribbons or rubber?

The ever ingenious engineers at Mercedes-Benz designed the supercar from the outset to share the same platform and most ancillary components in an effort to not only reduce development costs but also allow for a quicker production schedule and an earlier entry into the marketplace.  Both cars enjoy the same advanced aluminum frame with no modifications needed for use in either car, a technological coup in it’s own right that Merc seems especially proud of.  The differences with the E-Cell begin in the engine bay, or rather with the placement of four new electric motors, one each at the corners near the wheels rather than located inside the hubs as is the current trend on many other electric vehicles (EV’s).  This four corner layout also aids in a more even distribution of weight and keeps the center of gravity lower than a wiener dogs kneecaps.  It’s advanced lithium-ion battery is liquid cooled which one can guess is why this car maintains it’s open grille whereas most other’s make due with an inelegant barn door of a nose.  Mercedes-Benz expects 0-to-60 times of around four seconds.  The interior will remain familiar to anyone lucky enough to already be in the market for an SLS, with door panels and headliner draped in Alcantara, carbon fiber trim where appropriate or necessary, and enough sci-fi flavored electronic wizardry to keep even Steve Wozniak in tech-geek boner land.

The prototype is clad in a color reminiscent of those yellowish/green fire engines with just a touch of Iron Man’s chest mounted nuclear engine glow mixed in for dramatic effect. Speaking of superhero glow, the E-Cell pierces the night with full LED headlamps which differ from the standard SLS’s projector units.  Even though nearly every upscale carmaker seems intent on decorating the nose of their new models with glorified Christmas tree lights, on the E-Cell, they come across as purposeful rather than derivative.  These mild outward appearance alterations, coupled with lovely changes to the lower fascia and subtle but ugly “E-Cell” badges on the fenders (that we can hope are easily removed) are the only real clues that this is not your run-of-the-mill Gullwing, if there even is such a thing when we are talking about a car that uses explosive charges to pop the doors open in the event of a roll-over crash.

Mercedes-Benz has long been a leader in automotive technology, from building the first true automobile in 1885 to introducing innovations like crumple zones, anti-lock brakes, traction control and so on, but their technological dominance doesn’t reside solely in the past.  It appears the company has embraced, and some would argue, even forged the future of the automobile yet again by backing electric vehicles with such profound faith and vigor.  The SLS E-Cell may seem like an alien and exotic vehicle to us today, but rest assured in twenty years time, heck, maybe only 10-years from now, we will see many of it’s advancements gracing even the lowliest of automobiles.  The street cred earned by essentially inventing the automobile ensures that when Mercedes-Benz speaks, everyone around them listens very, very closely.



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