Daimler's Great Gullwing Electrification

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Well-heeled Mercedes Gullwing carnoscenti eagerly await the Mercedes AMG SLS, the 571 HP 6.3-liter-V8 powered, 315 km/h fast reminder that there was a 300SL in the rip-roaring 50s. But what about saving the planet? Not to worry!

Der Spiegel found out that there will be an ecologically responsible version of the Benz beast: A plug-in gullwing. Not one motor will power the green meanie—it will be four motors, one for every wheel. They will be good for only slightly fewer horses than the hydrocarbonated version: 530 hp for the battery-Benz. But the torque!

With 880 Nm, the eco-extremist’s wet dream will accelerate in less than four seconds from stationary to 100 km/h. Top speed is reached at 200 km/h, and the 324-cell lithium ion battery will scream “charge it!” after 150 to 180 km. “That’s not far,” says Der Spiegel, “but if you move the gasoline version in a species-appropriate manner, your tank won’t last much further either.”

What are the odds that the first granola gullwings will go to Abu Dhabi? Or will they take the conventional one?

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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4 of 11 comments
  • P00ch P00ch on Jul 13, 2009

    Greenwashing aside, it makes sense to introduce/advance new technologies in high-end cars first. The (likely) astronomical price for this SLS may allow MB to see a profit and reinvest that in further R&D (unlike a subsidized Volt). Eventually, the technology will become cheaper to produce and trickle down to middle-class cars, much like what happened with ABS, xenon headlights, etc. Still, it will take some hardcore early adopters to spend X-hundred K for one of these.

  • Charly Charly on Jul 13, 2009

    Electric driven cars make sense in Ferrari's and cars like that. They are cars you buy not because they are particular useful but because they are the pinnacle of technology and drive fast. Both conditions are met in the gullwing

  • Dangerous Dave Dangerous Dave on Jul 13, 2009

    With MB"s reputation for electrical system reliability, this is going to be one fine automobile.

  • Charly Charly on Jul 13, 2009

    This is high voltage stuff aka could potentially kill you. Totally different engineering. MB's should be able to handle this