AMG states it will display a closer-to-production
version electric SLS eDrive supercar later this year as it works
towards a full production version in 2013.
The Mercedes-Benz performance arm rolled out the
first eDrive concept at the last September’s Frankfurt motor show,
and many skeptics viewed it as a one-off green publicity push, but
departing AMG managing director Volker Mornhinweg has told GoAuto in
Australia that the car is much more than that.
He said the company was deep into the development
process for the car and on track for a 2013 debut.
The SLS eDrive has one 100 kW motor per wheel fed
by a lithium-ion battery pack housed in the same body shell as
petrol SLS models.
Having driven the prototypes, Volker Mornhinweg
is confident the production model will deliver the same kind of
emotion as the petrol version of the supercar.
“I can tell you that it is an amazing kind of
experience,” he said. “Therefore we are on the way to transport the
same emotion as you can have with the combustion engine.” Mind you,
an electric SLS will have nothing as soul stirring as the bellow of
the mighty V8 petrol SLS.
AMG are aware of this, being the relative silence
of the powerplant, a crucial element of supercar such as the SLS.
AMG is against mimicking a combustion engine note
and would prefer for it to sound electric, with the whirring of
motors that goes with it.
“I can tell you there is a sound; it is not the
same as a V8,” Volker Mornhinweg said.
“It is totally different. There is some wind
noise, but when you push the throttle there is a sound that I would
describe as interesting - it sounds new and futuristic.”
Mornhinweg’s AMG is happy with the design of an
electric SLS. “This concept is perfect for e-drive because we can
take (out) a combustion engine and transaxle (gearbox) and make no
changes to the body in white, and we can put in two motors with the
gearbox in the rear, two motors and the gearbox in the front and we
can take the centre console as a battery place - it looks like a T
and it is perfect,” he said.
Mornhinweg said it was important to build an all-electric
supercar first and could consider other technology for extending the
range. The estimated range is about 180km.
The make-up of electric vehicles will depend on
battery technology advancements, Mornhinweg said. “In the long run
it depends on what will be the next move in the battery technology
and the whole world is working on that like hell,” he said.
As previously reported by GoAuto, AMG is looking
at other ways of reducing the fuel consumption of its cars,
including a possible boosted four-cylinder small car.
It will also move away from its 6.2 liter
naturally aspirated V8, opting instead for a more efficient twin
turbocharged 5.5 liter V8 with direct injection that manages 420 kW
and 900 Nm of torque.
AMG says this engine will use about 25 percent
less fuel than the existing one. This engine will also be introduced
in the large S-class sedan before being spread across the AMG range.
GoAuto asked Volker Mornhinweg if fuel economy
concerns meant the end of the naturally aspirated engine within the
next decade. He agreed: “Without an e-motor (as a hybrid) I think so,
except for very small ones such as range extenders. The combustion
engine we will see for the next decade, but it will be charged.”