The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is an automotive icon that's gone through its life with very little change. But what if it did change? That got Mercedes wondering about the G-Wagen's future. The result? The Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force, the Los Angeles Auto Show concept that previews what the 2025 G-Class could look like.
Mercedes-Benz just pulled the wraps off the police-spec Ener-G-Force and its civilian counterpart ahead of their 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show debut. Both vehicles were built with a simple question in mind: what would the iconic G-Class look like in 2025? According to Mercedes, the Ener-G-Force design study is the answer.
The Ener-G-Force was initially conceived as Mercedes' entrant in the Los Angeles Design Challenge 2012's "Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025 contest. The goal of that competition was to design a law enforcement vehicle for the future world. According to Mercedes, roads in 2025 will be electronically monitored, and more crowded.
"Outdoor activities will dominate leisure, as will the desire for freedom and adventure," says Mercedes-Benz in a press release, "The new times will also call for new police vehicles." These vehicles "must be able to reach any place conceivable quickly...even far away from any pavement." Mercedes' Ener-G-Force Patrol Vehicle was designed for just that purpose, and the automaker liked the result so much that it decided to make a full scale version for the L.A. Auto Show.
At first glance, the Ener-G-Force looks more like the next-generation Isuzu Vehicross, or like the future Unimog concept Mercedes displayed last year, than it does a G-Class successor. It's got sculpted body work, slat-like windows, big wheels and tires, and integrated roof lights. Take a closer look though, and the G-Wagen design cues become quite clear. Up front, it has an upright grille, a power dome hood, and blinkers mounted on the wheel arches. Around back, the Ener-G-Force has taillights that bear a similar shape to those on the current G-Class and an offset storage system that mimics the asymmetrical spare tire carrier of today's G-Wagen.
What's not similar to the current G-Class is the Ener-G-Force's powertrain. As one might infer from its name, the Ener-G-Force is powered by electricity (along with hopes and dreams, as it's still a future concept). Mercedes says the Ener-G-Force is hydrogen-powered, with water acting as its fuel. The Ener-G-Force stores water in tanks on its roof, and then transfers it to the "hydro-tech converter," which separates out the hydrogen. The hydrogen is then converted into electricity and stored in the swappable, modular side skirts. The power is then routed to four electric motors - one in each wheel, giving the Ener-G-Force a 500-mile range. Mercedes says that the hydrogen side skirts can also be swapped out for battery packs.
In order to keep up with the G-Class' legendary off-road ability, the Ener-G-Force is fitted with a 360-degree topography scanner on the roof, dubbed "Terra-Scan." Terra-Scan will scan the terrain, and adjust the suspension's spring and damping rates to give the Ener-G-Force maximum traction wherever it goes.
The Ener-G-Force is purely a design concept, set to debut in a few weeks at the L.A. Auto Show. With that said, some design features could make their way into the next-gen G-Class. Which Ener-G-Force design cues would you most want to see on the next-gen G-Wagen? Sound off in the comments below.