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 |  May 01 2012, 11:02 AM

10. Cadillac ELR


Sports cars have often set the bar in new automotive technology and trends. Things like dual-clutch transmissions and forced induction engines were practically engineered for the sole purpose of taking a sports car to the absolute edge of excitement and danger.

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 |  Mar 09 2012, 12:31 PM

Since 2010, Mercedes-Benz AMG and the group’s UK based High Performance Powertrain division have been hard at work developing an electrified version of the flagship SLS and now, the company has provide us with a few details on the car’s driveline.

The SLS AMG E-CELL incorporates a high-voltage lithium-ion battery system and a permanent all-wheel-drive system with four individual electric motors mounted close to the wheels (not on the wheel hubs), plus a transmission for each axle. The location for mounting each motor was chosen to reduce unsprung mass at each wheel, while a permanently active torque vectoring system allows selective distribution of power and braking to each wheel to limit understeer/oversteer and improve traction as well as reducing steering effort and angle.  A redesigned front suspension with unique, separately activated pushrod struts is also fitted to compensate for the driven front axle.

In an effort to maximize reliability, the SLS E-CELL incorporates three cooling circuits; two for the electric motors and one for the battery pack, which via the car’s air conditioning system can provide additional cooling while operating in hot climates.

In order to compensate for the weight of the battery pack, the SLS AMG E-CELL features a lightweight carbon fiber monocoque tub, derived from those used on the company’s Formula 1 racers. Like a Grand Prix car, the tub functions as a backbone, essentially joining the rest of the car together as well as providing protection for the battery pack system.

Mercedes plans to build a limited number of SLS AMG E-CELL models for 2013 and says in terms of performance, the car almost matches its conventional 6.3-liter V8 counterpart, with 0-62 mph time of four seconds (the V8 will do it in 3.8). Power output from the electric version is 392 kW and 650 lb/ft of torque.