Mercedes SUV of tomorrow powered by fuel cells

Posted by Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling

Los Angeles Auto Show 2012 - Mercedes Benz is showcasing a concept 2025 G-Class SUV.

Entered into a design challenge which focused on what cleaner driving law enforcement might be like in 13 years, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class Ener-G-Force marries a type of hydrogen fuel cell technology with other environmental considerations.

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class Ener-G-Force, as envisioned by the automaker, has at its roots “the genes of the classic off-roader from 1979.” It was designed by the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Carlsbad, Calif. to look like a product of the modern times though, having what’s described as a rather “distinctive roof” and 3-panel greenhouse as well as 20-inch rims and “a slightly off-center pull-out compartment whose cover occupies the traditional location of the spare wheel cover.” This compartment is designed to hold a wide variety of equipment that are quickly within reach without having to open the entire tailgate.

Of course, being that this is a green car, one wonders what would power this vehicle if it actually were a working production model. Mercedes Benz believes the Ener-G-Force would be propelled by a type of futuristic hydrogen fuel cell via recycled water that is stored in tanks on the roof. This water would be transferred to a “hydro-tech converter,” where natural and renewable resources are converted into hydrogen.

Emitting nothing but water as a result, the Ener-G-Force would have a range of around 500 miles. Four wheel-hub motors, whose output for each individual wheel is adapted to the respective terrain by electronics, would act as the engine process for this green SUV. And, to know current fuel status, changes in the color of the illumination of the side skirts indicate the operating and charge status of the energy packs.

To mark the fuel cell vehicle as an emergency ride, flashing lights are integrated into the roof, while “small glass areas make the police vehicle a safe cocoon for law enforcement officers who are faced with many dangers.”

“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-Class,” said Gorden Wagener, Director of Design at Mercedes-Benz Cars, in a statement. "Modern and cool, it could also be a clue about a new beginning for the off-road design idiom of Mercedes-Benz."

Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling