► 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.
'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