50,000 km with the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG electric drive

The specs of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG electric drive

Mercedes had a very successful cooperation with Tesla around 2010. In this cooperation, a fully electric A-Class, B-Class, the Vito and a smart fortwo were built in small series. All equipped with Tesla technology and accordingly technically at the forefront. The cooperation helped Mercedes Benz gain a foothold in e-mobility after abandoning it in the late 1990s. You can find out more about this in a previous article.

The SLS AMG electric drive on the other hand was one of the first complete in-house developed cars. With Tesla and their technology, they had learned to walk and gained increasing experience in the field and in the development of electric cars. The battery came from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula 1 team. The know-how from Formula 1 and the high-performance battery of the KERS system (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) is also used in the SLS. This had a capacity of 60 kWh (net 54 kWh) and used pouch cells. The battery can deliver up to 480 kW, which it supplies to the four electric motors.

Each wheel has its own inverter & electric motor unit and can spin completely independently of the others. The four motors each have an output of almost 138 kW and came from the cooperation between Bosch and Mercedes. Technically, each individual motor was the big brother of an entire smart fortwo electric drive motor from that time. In total, the SLS AMG electric drive had an output of 552 kW (750 hp) and managed the sprint from 0-100 km / h in 3.9 seconds.

Mercedes AMG SLS electric drive

A highlight, then as now, is of course that each wheel can rotate independently. This allows the vehicle to be driven through curves as if it is on rails, since the perfect speed per wheel can be calculated and given at any acceleration and cornering position. Together with the sporty chassis and the general nature of the SLS, this makes the car a real racing machine.

Mercedes AMG SLS electric drive

The only bottleneck is the charger. Apparently there were prototypes with DC fast charging, but the time was not yet right for CCS. This standard was only to be completed shortly after the start of series production of the SLS. The SLS was only available with a 22 kW charger and type 2 socket. As a result, one battery charge lasts about 3 hours. The car then managed 250 km according to the standard norm range and realistic 200 km in everyday life.

It's not efficient by today's standards, but was quite normal back then. Tesla's Model S P85 with only 400 hp and one motor on the rear axle had about the same consumption, but thanks to the larger battery it had a longer range. At top speed, the SLS AMG electric drive is limited to 250 km/h, which is 25 km/h more than the Model S P85.

The SLS AMG electric drive as a daily

First of all, a big thank you to the owner of the SLS AMG electric drive, who showed me his car and took me on a long drive along beautifully winding roads. He had asked to remain anonymous, which is why there are no photos of his car and no personal information in this article.

The SLS AMG electric drive has been driven as a daily since it was first registered around 10 years ago. It doesn't matter whether it's summer or winter, snow or sun. Accordingly, it was exciting to learn that the car is quite reliable . At that time, Mercedes had put a car on the road in terms of driving characteristics, which was clearly superior to the Model S.

Even after 50,000 km, the car is in top condition and nothing creaks. On the road, of course, it is stiffer than a Model S, since it is more a racing car than a sedan. In the interior, at first glance, there is nothing to indicate the extraordinary drive train. Yellow seams run through the interior, which is otherwise the same as the V8, and you sit extremely well. Fitted with a V8 the SLS would be a very different car and not really useable as a daily. That's something that's also very cool about such electric cars: If you want to drive it normally in everyday life, it doesn't bother anyone and isn't noticeable apart from the color. But if you change the driving mode over. You've got a real race car on your hand.

Mercedes AMG SLS e-cell (Studie)

Of course, such an early electric car, practically made by hand, is not completely problem-free. This car in particular had seen the workshop a few times over the course of its time. Mostly because of little things that would probably have been noticed much earlier in a larger series production and would have been fixed with a regular service.

For example, there was a defect in a control unit for the battery. The vehicle's type 2 socket also had to be replaced because it broke mechanically. All in all, however, everything was fixed at the expense of Mercedes. The owner only had to pay for a repair on the two rear motors himself. All things that early Tesla Model S drivers from 2013/14 had also experienced and were also all repaired by Tesla under warranty.

Mercedes AMG SLS electric drive

Of course, it is also exciting to see how this vehicle is noticed by others with its eye-catching paintwork and EV licence plate. I was amused when we stopped and were asked which company had converted the SLS to electric drive. That it was so original from Mercedes seems to be hardly known. It was also interesting that the SLS AMG electric drive only has regenerative breaking at full power from the middle of the 70% SoC. At that time, Mercedes was probably still a little cautious with the topic and preferred to focus on coordinating the torque distribution on the individual electric motors.

Thanks to the ceramic brake discs, nothing had to be done on the brakes. Unlike other cars, these do not rust away over time, so the SLS AMG electric drive is still on the road with the first brakes and pads even after 50,000 km. Thanks to the maintenance-free electric drive, there are also no regular service intervals for the SLS. The car normally only sees the dealer when it receives the legally required tech inspection and is briefly checked by the workshop for this purpose.

Mercedes AMG powered speedboat

Especially for such a small edition and the target group of the car, it was impressive how good the car actually is in everyday life. Back then, Mercedes rightly made fun of Tesla. Mercedes definitely had the better electric car. Only when it came to infotainment, Tesla was way ahead of Mercedes back then. Certainly an SLS is not a car where you need an exciting radio. But you can tell from the center console that it was designed in the late 2000s.

When it comes to e-mobility, Mercedes unfortunately lost interest after the SLS and now has to try to catch up with the competition with the EQS. Too bad it could have been different. The SLS is a breathtaking vehicle and extremely remarkable when it comes to electric drive. At that time like today.

RECORD - 7:55 minutes on the Nordschleife

With its drive train, the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG electric drive was not only the first production car to achieve the 0-100 in under 4 seconds. They also showed that it could handle corners. To do this, Mercedes Benz sent a SLS into the notorious green hell and achieved a time of 7:56.234 minutes. A record at the time for a fully electric production car, and still an extremely remarkable time today.

10 years later the record is 7:05 minutes, achieved by a 1.914 PS Rimac Nevera.

Mercedes AMG SLS electric drive Nordschleife

Do you have questions about smart and e-mobility or do you want to discuss the content of this page?

Then register today here in the smart EMOTION forum. The constantly growing community is happy to engage in expert discussions and share their experiences with you. I also participate and support you with my network and expertise.