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For many months now Mercedes has been teasing us with photos and details of its upcoming SLS supercar and now the German automaker has added a surprise twist. A while back it was made known that the SLS would come with a 6.2-liter V8 with 571 hp and 479 ft-lbs of torque. Now Volker Mornhinweg, the head of Mercedes’ high-performance AMG division, says another powerplant will also be available – an electric one.
Called the SLS eDrive, this green version of the SLS will make use of lithium-ion battery packs, powering an electric motor that will make 392 kW (or 526hp) and 649 ft-lbs of torque. The SLS eDrive will offer serious performance with a 0-60 mph time of under four seconds and a top speed of 120 mph – all with zero emissions. Range is expected to be between 93 and 112 miles.
The lithium-ion battery packs will be situated low in the car, where the gasoline-powered model’s torque-tube is located. The space where the gas tank would be will also be used.
While Mercedes recently began a partnership with U.S. electric sportscar maker Tesla, Mornhinweg says this project is independent of that and they are working with German battery-experts Evonik.
Outside the SLS eDrive will look identical to the gasoline powered model, but inside there will be some slight differences with special controls and gauges.
Suspension changes up front will have to be made, however, as the current front double-wishbone suspension doesn’t leave room for the electric motors that will power the front wheels. Don’t worry though, this isn’t a front-drive car, but rather an all-wheel drive model, as electric motors will also be located in the rear.
The SLS eDrive is still a long way off from production, especially as the standard gasoline-powered SLS won’t make it to market until late 2010 as a 2011 model. It is tentatively scheduled as a 2015 model.