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Mercedes Benz off-roader of the future – the Ener-G-Force

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November 18, 2012

The Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force concept design

The Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force concept design

Image Gallery (13 images)

What will highway patrol vehicles look like in 2025? That's the question posed by this year's LA Auto Show Design Challenge, and Mercedes-Benz has answered with the Ener-G-Force design concept. Despite the brief, the company's North American R&D team hasn't totally abandoned the past in looking to the future however, conceiving a rugged, fuel-cell driven concept based on the G-Class that would produce its own hydrogen from water on the fly.

Taking place concurrently with the LA Auto Show each year, the Los Angeles Design Challenge gives creative types from the major automotive houses an opportunity to forget the fetters of reality and dabble in designs that are purely science fiction. Over the years this approach has produced some visually stunning, thought-provoking (and at times head-scratching) results.

This year's brief is to "create a highway patrol vehicle that meets the challenges of a specific region’s transportation and societal conditions in 2025".

Designers from the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in California have interpreted this brief with a concept vehicle that, while based on the classic G-Class, would cater for the increased congestion and energy-saving pressures that we can expect more than a decade from now ... as well as retaining some serious off-road capability.

While the "G" shaped LED headlight points clearly to the heritage of this concept, the boxy shape of the G-Class has been well and truly buried beneath a series of pronounced curves, while the SUV's road presence is beefed-up by way of 20-inch rims shod with imposing chunks of rubber. The windows have been scaled-down to provide extra protection for law-enforcement personnel and an array of gadgetry, including emergency lights and a 360-degree topography scanner linked to the electronic suspension system, are packed onto the roof.

The sleek lines continue at the rear where the spare-wheel compartment has been converted into a quick access tool box, but perhaps the most interesting idea floated here is not the design itself, but the electric drivetrain.

The Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force concept design

The Ener-G-Force design employs four wheel-hub motors driven by fuel cells, but instead of filling up at the pump, a “hydro-tech converter” would generate fuel using recycled water stored in tanks on the roof. The energy generated by this system would be stored in "drawers" accessed through the side skirts which could alternatively house hot-swappable battery packs.

The Mercedes-Benz designers have built a 1:1-scale model of the concept and have also toyed with the idea of a civilian version.

“The Ener-G-Force is the vision of an off-roader that, while reflecting tomorrow’s adventures, also invokes the genes of the Mercedes-Benz off-road icon, the G model," says Gorden Wagener, Director of Design at Mercedes-Benz Cars. "Modern and cool, it could also be a clue about a new beginning for the off-road design idiom of Mercedes-Benz”.

Take a browse through the gallery for more renderings and sketches.

Sources: Mercedes-Benz, LA Design Challenge

About the Author
Noel McKeegan After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007.   All articles by Noel McKeegan
14 Comments

It's cool...but it kinda' looks like they took a Toyota FJ Cruiser...and slapped a Benz front clip on it.

DOC HOLLYWOOD
18th November, 2012 @ 10:48 pm PST

Well, I really hope Mercedes makes "Mythbusters" eat dirt.. after they came to the conclusion that it was *impossible* to practically create enough hydrogen, fast enough, to be of any practical benefit..

Doc Rock
19th November, 2012 @ 02:33 am PST

DOC HOLLYWOOD, no it doesn't. The FJ Cruiser is fugly but this thing is hot, they need to build it tomorrow and send one to me.

Denis Klanac
19th November, 2012 @ 04:04 am PST

Doc Rock, no matter how cool it would be, you can't get around the laws of physics.

Siegfried Gust
19th November, 2012 @ 05:33 am PST

Siegfried Gust, laws are meant to be broken, just ask Tesla or Edison or even Einstein who was smart enough to know it was all relative. More than that it takes someone who doesn't say no way every time they encounter a problem or a know-it-all with limits... Hydrogen and electric are the future, accept it, watch it take over Oil. Rock on Doc.

Rick Squier
19th November, 2012 @ 10:03 am PST

There are a number of ways to separate hydrogen out of water they all require more energy input than the extracted hydrogen contains as chemical energy. The rapid oxidation methods leave you with less energy than you started with even if you include the heat generated by the rapid oxidation process. So where does the energy come from?

re; Doc Rock

While Mythbusters screwed up the test of the hydrogen efficiency enhancement system that is supposed to work by having the small amount of hydrogen in the fuel air mix increase the rate that combustion takes place thus making the pressure rise faster in the cylinder putting more of the energy into the crankshaft making the vehicle more efficient. And their statement that you can't generate hydrogen from water fast enough to fuel a car is also not technically true either unless Mercedes has come up with a new method that rewrites the laws of thermal dynamics it is not cost effective to separate the hydrogen from the water on the car.

Slowburn
19th November, 2012 @ 10:57 am PST

This looks far better then the fugly refridgerator box they're selling now but I think it missed the mark completely with the chunky jacked up design for a HIGHWAY patrol.

The Hoff
19th November, 2012 @ 11:47 am PST

At last I can see an off-the -shelf concept with enough height under the differentials...

If they can use more carbon for the body, doors, etc., they may not need so fat tires...

Volodya Kotsev
19th November, 2012 @ 03:09 pm PST

Actually the source of the KWs to drive the vehicle don't matter.

Very disappointing, it would appear these guys can't see beyond their limited internal combustion horizons.

Hello! motor/GENERATOR in the hubs. About time but guys you aren't using them correctly.

This should be a truly all terrain vehicle with great clearance and great mileage at high speed.

Fifty five minutes kids! Only fifty five minutes to triple the mileage and increase the off road ability by an Order of Magnitude.

But no you'll let the Japanese, Chinese or a couple guys at Tesla eat your lunch.... well can't blame you that sausage can get awfully boring.

attoman
19th November, 2012 @ 04:30 pm PST

Wouldn't it be nice if there was enough interest/R&D in civilian/productive uses for vehicles and gizmos that the technology would trickle down to the military and police forces instead of the other way around...

Shishkabugs
19th November, 2012 @ 06:26 pm PST

One of the off roader in the future.. If you ask me i think this is going to be some thing very different... thanks benz..

Okechukwu D Odinaka
22nd November, 2012 @ 10:43 am PST

Put a reliable high horsepower diesel engine in it and I would get one. No electric motor or gasoline engine, please.

Sonya Jones
23rd November, 2012 @ 11:21 am PST

The new Mercedes looks like the old design of an Isuzu that came out about 10 years ago and did not catch on. It looks nothing like the FJ. Maybe a bit lie the Hummer 3.

bjfg144
23rd November, 2012 @ 07:53 pm PST

I think, the design is very Futurist and I like it a lot. If Mercedes-Benz build a new G serie I believe it will be selling more than the G Serie of Today.

In my country where I live now, there is more then %130 over the price of US. This car would be more than 280.000 USD in Turkey... So If I start to live in US, for sure I'd be planing to buy G Mercedes... Anyway, as a summary, mercedes benz has never made a bad car... For sure, it will be a great car!

I like the c class vehicle.

Kayela Marrie
2nd December, 2012 @ 08:02 pm PST
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