Mercedes gull-wing goes electric

Posted by Shane McGlaun

When electric cars first started generating buzz, I couldn't help but wonder if they heralded the end of performance automobiles.

As it turns out, there have been some uber-impressive electric vehicles hitting the track as of late, especially from Tesla and Mercedes-Benz. Indeed, the latter auto manufacturer recently unveiled a new high-performance electric vehicle at the Paris Motorshow.

The car is an all-electric version of the sexy gull-wing SLS AMG, which Mercedes refers to as the SLS AMG Electric Drive. The car looks pretty sweet, save for the blue-chrome paint scheme which just doesn't work for me.

The gasoline-powered version of the car is equipped with a massive 6.2-liter V8 engine for motivation producing 563 HP and 480 pound-foot of torque. In SLS AMG Electric Drive guise, the car has an electric motor at each wheel producing a combined 740 HP. Those electric motors produce 737 pound-feet of torque.

The electric power is generated from a msss of lithium-ion batteries, which adds significantly to the 3600-pound base curb weight of the gasoline-powered version. Mercedes doesn't offer specifics on how much the car weighs but considering it has significantly more power and torque and is 0.2-second slower to 62 mph than the gasoline-powered version, weight is obviously a factor. Mercedes says that the Electric Drive can hit 62 mph in 3.9 seconds.

The auto manufacturer estimates that the driving range for the car on a full charge is 155 miles. Obviously, this figure is only accurate  if you keep your foot out of the throttle. The worst thing about the Electric Drive version of the SLS AMG - at least IMHO - would have to be the loss of the glorious exhaust note the gasoline-power car offers. Using a normal electric outlet, Mercedes estimates about 20 hours for a full charge.

However, a quick charger will be offered that can recharge the battery packs in about three hours. The price is estimated to be $537,000 for this electric exotic with deliveries expected to start next June.