Mercedes-Benz reveals the drive system of the SLS AMG E-CELL

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 10, 2012

Mercedes-Benz’s SLS AMG E-Cell project will be powered by this electric drivetrain system. The automaker has recently presented this drivetrain, which benefits from its Formula 1 experience, especially with the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). The E-Cell’s electric powertrain started development in 2010 and is being jointly produced by AMG (Merc’s performance arm) and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, Northamptonshire.

This system consists of four electric motors positioned near the wheels that offer a peak power output of 392kW (equivalent to 526bhp) and 649lb ft of torque. Its four motors rev to a maximum of 12,000rpm. The SLS E-Cell, which features gullwing doors, could sprint from a standstill to 62mph in 4.0sec while the conventionally powered SLS AMG can get to this speed in 3.8sec.

The motors are placed near the wheels instead of in the wheel hubs so that the unsprung masses would be reduced. The four electric motors and the transmissions are positioned very low down in the vehicle to have a low center of gravity and so that weight distribution would be balanced. Charging the 400-volt battery, which consists of 12 modules of 72 lithium-ion polymer cells, is done via targeted recuperation during braking while the car is running.

The direct current is converted by an electronic control system from the high-voltage battery into a three-phase alternating current that’s necessary for the synchronous motors and regulates the energy flow for all operating conditions. The battery temperature is maintained by other cooling and heating systems.

As this is an electric motor system, it means that the E-Cell has permanent four-wheel drive and active torque vectoring, which enables every wheel to be independently braked or driven but it would depend on conditions.

In addition, the carbonfibre transmission tunnel serves as the monocoque housing for the high-voltage battery modules. It is also structurally integrated into the E-Cell’s aluminum body shell. The E-Cell isn’t like the current production version of the AMG SLS as it comes with an independent multi-link front suspension with pushrod damper struts. The reason is the added driveshafts. The vertically arranged damper struts in the traditional SLS had to make way for them.

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