A glimpse into 2025 design
MercedesBenz has revealed its vision of a future SUV
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.