Mercedes electric supercar guilty of sticker shock

The SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive boasts not one, but four electric motors

Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive might be the ultimate production-ready electric sports car with a price to match. Its four electric motors propel it from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds. Its top speed is 155 miles per hour, which has to be electronically limited. The price tag is jaw-dropping at US$540,000.

To see the SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive on the road, watch this video on YouTube.

Unlike the wheels on most electric cars, each wheel on the SLS has its own electric motor that can achieve 13,000 RPMs.

The three driving modes -- controlled efficiency, sport and sport plus -- change the car's top speed and accelerator response.

The car's liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery system consists of 864 individual cells and can hold 60 kilowatt-hours of electricity. The batteries can carry the car 250 kilometers. The electric SLS is designed to be charged at home or by a public charging station. A specially designed wall box can provide a quick charge of 22 kilowatts in about three hours. Without the box, charge time is about 20 hours.

As it now seems to be the norm with electric supercars, the SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive has a uniquely crafted sound signature that plays from the car's 11 speakers. Since the car has an electric motor, it doesn't make much noise. The electronic sound is made not only to please the driver who has dropped half a million dollars on the car, but to warn passersby of an approaching vehicle.

The most striking feature of the car is its paint job. The metallic blue, called AMG electricbeam magno, is a color reserved specifically for this model, adding to its elite status.

The car goes on sale in 2013.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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