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Scaffolding ahoy! Electric SLS used to hone autonomous systems

Published: 02 November 2017

► Mercedes SLS E-Cell spied
► Is AMG planning an electric GT?
► Or merely testing e-drive systems?

These new spy photos of the Mercedes SLS E-Cell electric sports car have sparked interest in a rumoured electrified AMG GT sports car. However, CAR can confirm that no such vehicle is in the product plan.

Mercedes' high-performance division, AMG, has already committed to electrifiation with the AMG GT 'coupaloon', a four-door sports coupe with EQ Power+ boosting the 4.0-litre petrol V8 with hybrid electric power.

Could it also be preparing an all-electric successor to the electric SLS? Despite this sighting of this SLS E-Cell in Germany this week, no electric GT is on the cards according to CAR's sources.

So why are they testing the Mercedes SLS E-Cell draped in Bob The Builder's scaffolding?

Our spies papped the e-SLS at a roundabout near the Nurburgring; the extraordinary scaffolding is mounting data-gathering telemetry, as engineers measure the electric car's systems on test.

Mercedes SLS E-Cell on test for autonomous driving systems

'The only reason they pulled out the eDrive was to fuse the high-performance electric drivetain and the latest sensors/cameras for autonomous driving,' says our insider. 'And also for teaching a good driver an even faster line on tracks like the Ring.'

Sounds like they're using an old test hack to hone very modern self-driving systems.

The SLS E-Cell: a quick electric history lesson

The SLS was the forefather to today's GT range, and in 2010 the company launched an electrified version as a final swansong.

Dubbed SLS E-Cell originally, before switching its name to SLS Electric Drive for limited series production, it was a low-volume testbed for electric performance cars.

We drove the Mercedes SLS Electric Drive in 2013. Read our review here

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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