Mercedes-Benz says its radical Ener-G-Force concept is a study of how the company sees the future of police squad cars in the United States.
It describes it as a “Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025”. The bold SUV was developed for the Los Angeles Design Challenge – an annual feature of the LA show – and previews a bold new look and cutting-edge technology for the next G-Class, due in 2015.
Mercedes-Benz claims this concept “demonstrates how the genes of the classic off-roader may still assert themselves in the far future.”
The Ener-G-Force (pictured) resembles the current G-Class. The front grille, wing-mounted indicators and LED headlamp designs in the shape of a ‘G’ all pay tribute to the existing car.
There’s plenty of ground clearance, while a short windscreen adds to the imposing stance. Dramatic off-road cladding around the wheelarches and sills enhances the imposing stance, and there are three-section side windows in the G-class tradition.
Completing the look are narrow tail-lights and a small rear windscreen, plus there’s a pull-out toolbox in the tailgate storage section, which is styled to look like a traditional spare wheel holder.
Under the skin, the Ener-G-Force is equally radical, with a hydrogen fuel cell powering motors in each wheel hub.
Power for the cell is created by a prototype ‘hydro-tech converter’ using recycled water stored in roof-mounted tanks.
The electric energy the converter provides is then stored in the Ener-G-Force’s sculpted side skirts. Mercedes-Benz says the car has a range of nearly 800km.
The fanciful design also previews a wider array of possible future SUV models from Mercedes-Benz, including a direct rival to the Range Rover that would sit above the current hardcore GL-Class.
Mercedes-Benz Cars director of design Gorden Wagener called the concept a “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.”
“Modern and cool, it could also be a clue about a new beginning for the off-road design idiom of Mercedes-Benz,” he said.
Styling highlights include the glass area on the rear of the roof – described as a potential bullet-proof “cocoon” for police – and a tailgate-mounted pull-out compartment reminiscent of the G-Class’s spare-wheel housing.
A ‘Terra-Scan’ topograghy scanner above the windscreen gives 360-degree views of the surroundings, and is said to be capable of controlling a system that would adjust the suspension for maximum traction on a given surface.