Is the Mercedes-Benz 2014 SLS AMG Electric Drive the Supercar of the Future?

2014 SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive Production Car. Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz. 

It has 740 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, it can go zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds, and it's the most powerful SLS AMG ever made. More importantly, it has a range of approximately 120 miles on pure electricity. What is it? It's Daimler's (NASDAQOTH: DDAIF  ) electric supercar, the SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive.

Supercar of the future?
Supercars aren't known for being easy on gas consumption. However, thanks to its advanced Formula 1 technology and high-voltage, lithium-ion battery -- which consists of 12 modules with 72 lithium-ion cells, for a total of 864 cells -- gas consumption isn't a factor.

Moreover, Mercedes' states, "The high-voltage battery in the SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive boasts an energy content of 60 kWh, an electric load potential of 600 kW and weighs 548 kg -- all of which are absolute best values in the automotive sector." 

Mercedes SLS AMG. Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz.

Further, thanks to its four compact permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors capable of achieving a maximum individual speed of 13,000 rpm, torque can be selectively distributed to individual wheels. This improves driving dynamics, and means the SLS Electric Drive is all-wheel drive.  

The bad news is the SLS AMG Electric Drive starts at around $544,000, is a limited edition electric version of the SLS AMG, and isn't available in the United States. Consequently, it's not going to make much, if any, impact on Mercedes' bottom line. The good news is that while the SLS AMG Electric Drive isn't going to become a mainstream vehicle anytime soon, the technology it uses is impressive, and could find itself making its way into other vehicles in the future. Here's why.

Mercedes' green future
It's no secret that internal combustion engine, or ICE, vehicles are detrimental to the environment. As such, the search for an alternative solution is in full swing. For Mercedes, this means expanding its vehicle lineup to include hybrids, clean diesels, fuel cells, flexible fuel, and battery-powered, vehicles -- and not all of them are outrageously expensive.

For example, in July 2014 Mercedes is scheduled to release its B-Class Electric Drive, which has a starting price of $41,450. Additionally, it comes standard with a 28-kWh lithium-ion battery, its drivetrain is built by Tesla Motors, and it has an all-electric 177-horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. Plus, it can go zero to 60 in 7.9 seconds, with an EPA estimated driving range of 85 miles. That's good news for people wanting to move away from ICE vehicles but still drive a Mercedes.

Mercedes SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive. Photo credit: Lebubu93 via Wikimedia Commons.

What to watch
The SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive is an impressive supercar. Moreover, it's a "green" supercar, with what could arguably be called the most advanced battery system in a production car. That's quite an achievement for Mercedes. Further, the technology that the SLS Electric Drive uses could be modified for use in future "green" vehicles. Still, regardless of whether or not Mercedes goes that route, the fact that Mercedes is invested in so many types of alternative solutions to ICE vehicles is great news for long-term investors.

Additionally, so far this year, Mercedes has reported a 6.1% U.S. sales gain compared to the same time last year -- which just happened to be a record-breaking year for Mercedes. Consequently, if you're looking to add to your auto stock portfolio, you might want to give Daimler a closer look.

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  • Report this Comment On May 19, 2014, at 10:09 AM, atimtic wrote:

    What is the point of a super car that can only last 14 minutes out on the track before having to be charged again?

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Katie Spence

Katie Spence has been a financial journalist for The Fool since 2011. She specializes in defense companies, “green" technology, autos, and robots. Follow her on Twitter for breaking news in the defense, auto, and robot industry.

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