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Tony O'Kane | Jul 16, 2009

JUST TWO DAYS AGO we brought you word that Mercedes-Benz was allegedly contemplating a battery-powered variant of the SLS AMG gullwing, but now the German automaker has not only confirmed the existence of the project, but released the first batch of technical details too.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with electric drive will be powered by four electric motors, arranged in pairs with two motors driving either the front or rear axle via a common gearbox.

Mercedes deliberately avoided using in-hub motors in an effort to reduce the unsprung weight of each wheel assembly, thus preserving the handling characteristics of the petrol-powered SLS.

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The combined power of all four motors is a mighty 392kW and 880Nm - not far off the V8-powered SLS AMG's 420kW. Power is supplied by a 400-volt bank of lithium-ion batteries, which are also topped up during driving by a regenerative braking system.

The heavy battery pack and electric motors have been mounted as low and as close to the centre of the car as possibly, and weight distribution is still fairly even. Despite being a completely different powertrain, the addition of an electric drive system did not require any modifications to the SLS's all-alloy chassis.

"With the SLS AMG with electric drive, we wanted to redefine the super sports car," said Volker Mornhinweg, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

"For us, it is not just about [environmental] responsibility.

"We attach just as much importance to excitement and classic AMG performance."

An introduction date for the SLS AMG with electric drive has not been announced, however present speculation says to expect the all-electric supercar to make its debut sometime in 2015 - four years after the introduction of its petrol-powered sibling.

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