With the rapid ascent of the Tesla Model S to highly desired fast-and-sleek car status, and promises from major automakers as well as startups, Mercedes-Benz is poised to take center stage with its AMG Coupe Electric Drive.
Said to be the world’s most powerful and fastest series production electric car available, the spec sheet for the half-million-dollar, all-wheel-drive super sports car does back it up.
A 0-62 mph time of 3.9 seconds is said to be possible thanks to 740 electric horsepower (552kw), and 738 pound feet of torque. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, and range is the same number.
“The SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive is redefining standards for cars with electric drive systems. As the most powerful gullwing model ever, it also epitomizes the enduring innovative flair of Mercedes-AMG,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “Our vision of the most dynamic electric vehicle has become a reality and enables AMG customers to enjoy a whole new dimension of exclusive driving experience. With the help of our colleagues at Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, we are bringing fascinating high tech from the world of Formula 1 to the road.”
The vehicle employs a Formula 1 style KERS system, and offers three-hour charging at home for its 60-kwh, 400-volt battery with a specially installed charger.
Naturally, this will be a choice of one or the other – range or top speed, but not both at the same time.
Also compelling for high-performance fans is the vehicle uses four individual 13,000-rpm motors for each of its four wheels. These are not hub mounted units, as the unsprung weight was deemed unacceptable.
Rather, they are inboard, and have individual transmission units for each, so corner-enhancing ability from torque vectoring ought to put this sports car a further notch up the speed potential ladder. To handle the massive power up front, the traditional suspension was scrapped, and a Formula 1 style horizontal pushrod setup was used along with burly front axles.
To further enhance visceral feedback, the AMG EV makes use of “SLS eSound” which pipes in noises deemed suitable for the various phases of operation from startup, to running, to fast driving, etc.
“The occupants can enjoy a tailored sound pattern to suit each driving situation: incredibly dynamic when accelerating, subdued and restrained when cruising and intuitively comprehensible during recuperation phases – i.e. when the driver decelerates using the steering-wheel shift paddles and energy is being recovered,” says Daimler. “Using, in the main, authentic yet denaturalized real noises that cause the driver to make a subconscious association is of great benefit here as they do not sound artificial, as is usually the case with synthetic noises.”
The car uses much carbon fiber to offset the portly 1,200 pound battery pack. The motors, by the way, weigh only around 100 pounds each so while the fuel supply – the battery – is much more than for a conventional internal combustion car, the motors and transmissions weigh less.
We’ve seen reports the pre-production car had a curb weight of 4,609 pounds (2,095 kg), which is a couple hundred less than the 85-kwh Tesla Model S. It is also over 1,000 pounds more than a similarly quick but much faster in top-speed Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
The e-car is a stunning example of emissions-free driving for those who have enough money to spend on a car that could just as well buy them a nice house in the suburbs.
Pricing and launch date are yet to be announced, but recent projections were around $538,000 plus the price for the fast charger.
Some of the first people in line buying Teslas do have the disposable income to consider paying more for this M-B EV, if that was what they wanted to do. But it’s likely to remain a niche product, that at least will show electric cars have enormous potential.
Now, if only electric creations even close to this cool could be priced much closer what people of more modest means could afford.