Sam Philip23 July 2009

SLS goes electric

Mercedes confirms all-electric version of its gullwinged supercar. Watch out, Tesla Roadster

See more Merc SLS pics

Mercedes has confirmed that it will build an all-electric version of its gullwing SLS supercar.

This is exciting news. We've already had a quick drive in a petrol-powered prototype SLS, and it's set to be one of the cars of the year.

So the SLS could be the first true all-electric hypercar: it'll be powered by four electric motors - one for each wheel - putting out a combined 526bhp and a whopping 649lb ft of torque. The V8 petrol SLS develops 563bhp and 479bhp.

Which means the electric SLS will be quick. Merc says it'll hit 60mph in four seconds flat, which slaps it straight into genuine hypercar territory. Because it's four-wheel drive, it should be grippy, too - Mercedes engineers say that, despite the added weight of the batteries, they have managed to keep the centre of gravity as low as the petrol SLS.

We don't know how far it'll go on a single charge, but it has a slightly lower battery capacity than the smaller, less powerful Tesla Roadster, so we reckon you'll struggle to top 200 miles.

Speaking of Tesla, Daimler recently invested $50 million for a 10 per cent stake in the Californian company, enabling it to utilise Tesla's battery technology. Mercedes hasn't confirmed when we'll see the electric SLS, though the Tesla deal should enable the German firm to roll out the technology within the next year.

So, Top Gearers, what do you think of an electric SLS? Can a battery-powered coupe be a genuine hypercar?

Now watch Jeremy drive the Tesla Roadster:

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