A glimpse into 2025 de­sign

MercedesBenz has re­vealed its vi­sion of a fu­ture SUV

Business Day - Motor News - - FRONT PAGE - MO­TOR NEWS RE­PORTER

ACOU­PLE of weeks ago we re­ported on the new Mercedes-Benz G-Class from its launch in Graz, Aus­tria, and the ve­hi­cle is due in SA next week. How­ever, the com­pany has now un­veiled a de­sign study that demon­strates how the genes of the clas­sic off-roader from 1979 may still as­sert them­selves in the far fu­ture.

It is based on the con­cept of a fu­ture po­lice car devel­oped for the Los An­ge­les De­sign Chal­lenge.

The Los An­ge­les De­sign Chal­lenge 2012 looks far ahead with a quest for the “High­way Pa­trol Ve­hi­cle 2025”.

Law en­force­ment will have to pre­pare for even more crowded roads with elec­tron­i­cally mon­i­tored and guided traf­fic, a much larger pop­u­la­tion and changes in hu­man be­hav­iour. Peo­ple will feel young and ac­tive un­til even later in life. Out­door ac­tiv­i­ties will dom­i­nate leisure time, as will the de­sire for free­dom and ad­ven­ture.

The new times will also call for new po­lice ve­hi­cles. They must be able to reach any place quickly and re­li­ably — far away from any pave­ment. And they must do so in an ex­cep­tion­ally en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly way us­ing alternative en­ergy sources. En­hanced green­car char­ac­ter­is­tics and off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties will be among the fun­da­men­tal virtues of a po­lice car in 2025.

As an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly SUV, the Ener-G-Force, which Merc is pre­sent­ing in Los An­ge­les as a de­sign study, meets th­ese re­quire­ments and is claimed to be fully ca­pa­ble of sup­port­ing po­lice and emer­gency ser­vices in ev­ery cor­ner of the world.

Gor­den Wa­gener, di­rec­tor of de­sign at Mercedes-Benz cars said: “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. Mod­ern and cool, it could also be a clue about a new be­gin­ning for the off-road de­sign id­iom of Mercedes-Benz.”

The small glass ar­eas make the po­lice ve­hi­cle a safe co­coon for law en­force­ment of­fi­cers who are faced with many dan­gers. Emer­gency lights in­te­grated into the roof en­sure at­ten­tion that is im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore; the strik­ing front leaves no doubt as to the com­mand­ing pres­ence of the po­lice; and the gi­gan­tic wheels guar­an­tee the right of way even where no way ex­ists.

Of course, the con­cept of the Ener-G-Force is pure, ren­dered sci­ence fic­tion. How­ever, the no­tion of de­sign­ing to­mor­row’s off-roader fas­ci­nated the de­sign­ers at the Mercedes-Benz

While re­flect­ing to­mor­row’s ad­ven­tures, also in­vokes the genes of the Merc off-road icon, the G model

Ad­vanced De­sign Stu­dio in Carls­bad, Cal­i­for­nia to such an ex­tent that they evolved the vi­sion of a po­lice ver­sion into a civil­ian ver­sion and even built a 1:1-scale model. Like the “High­way Pa­trol Ve­hi­cle 2025”, the shape of the civil­ian Ener-G-Force is mod­elled af­ter the G-Class, the off-road icon whose con­tin­u­ous his­tory goes all the way back to the 1970s.

The con­cept presents a rad­i­cal rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of a clas­sic that looks far into the fu­ture. Im­por­tant genes such as pro­por­tions and de­sign el­e­ments were adopted con­cep­tu­ally and were com­pletely re­designed and up­dated in a clean con­cept for be­yond to­mor­row.

Ener-G-Force de­signer Hu­bert Lee said: “Of course we wanted to take a clear step for­ward, but we also wanted the G’s features.”

The Ener-G-Force has a sim­i­lar pro­file, how­ever, with a high shoul­der line and scaled­down glass ar­eas.

While the clear de­sign id­iom of the G-Class has re­mained, all sur­faces are de­signed to ex­press in­ten­sity and ten­sion. The metic­u­lously ex­e­cuted de­tails also are a clear in­di­ca­tion that the con­cept is the prod­uct of mod­ern times.

Like the G-Class, it sports a front with an ex­pres­sive ra­di­a­tor grille that in­cor­po­rates the head­lamps. LEDs in the head­lamps form lamp units in the shape of a G, which gives it a strong, iconic ap­pear­ance and aims to demon­strate dom­i­nance. The front in­di­ca­tors and po­si­tion lights are mounted on top of the wings as a sig­nif­i­cant G-Class el­e­ment.

The mounted roof dis­tinc­tive to the G-Class and the tri­par­tite glass area also cite the fun­da­men­tal genes of the clas­sic off-roader from Mercedes-Benz, but rep­re­sent a clear step for­ward.

The model stores re­cy­cled water in tanks on the roof, and trans­fers it to the “hy­dro-tech con­verter”, where nat­u­ral and re­new­able re­sources are con­verted into hy­dro­gen for op­er­at­ing the fuel cells. The stor­age units for the elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated in this process are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble in the side skirts. The Ener-G-Force emits noth­ing but water, has a claimed op­er­at­ing range of about 800km and is said to be a truly green car. Four wheel-hub mo­tors, whose out­put for each in­di­vid­ual wheel is adapted to the re­spec­tive ter­rain by high-per­for­mance elec­tron­ics, pro­vide the pulling power. A “Terra-Scan” 360 to­pog­ra­phy scan­ner on the roof scans the sur­round­ings and uses the re­sults to ad­just the spring and damp­ing rates as well as other sus­pen­sion pa­ram­e­ters for max­i­mum trac­tion on the present sur­face.

The side skirts house ei­ther the en­ergy stor­age units or hot-swap­pable bat­tery packs. Changes in the colour of the il­lu­mi­na­tion of the side skirts in­di­cate the op­er­at­ing and charge sta­tus of the en­ergy packs.

GREEN AND MEAN: The Ener-GForce de­sign study looks ahead to the G-Class of 2025. It may look like some­thing from sci­ence fic­tion, but Merc is con­fi­dent that this is the fu­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.