Mercedes-Benz has created its share of iconic vehicles, but only one of them is currently on sale. (Time will tell on stuff like the SLS or C63 AMG.) Of course, we’re talking about the Geländewagen, styled with a slide rule in the early ’70s to military specifications, launched in 1979, and is still sold today in surprising quantities to armed forces, off-road enthusiasts, and the jet set alike. It’s no wonder, then, that the GL-class—intended as a Geländewagen replacement—couldn’t kill it.
But at some point down the road, the G must be replaced. There probably aren’t more than a few years left in the G-wagen’s life, after which increasingly tough pedestrian-protection regulations will render it unsaleable in many markets. The Ener-G-Force concept created for the Los Angeles auto show is evidence that Stuttgart is actively working on a plan for when that day comes.
While the GL happened under former chief designer Peter Pfeiffer, this fresh take was overseen by Pfeiffer's successor, Gorden Wagener. The inspiration for the ENER-G is provided by the Los Angeles Design challenge, which asked for designs imagining a Highway Patrol vehicle for 2025. It’s no surprise, then, that this G-inspired design looks something like a Mercedes-badged all-terrain pursuit vehicle from the future. According to Benz, its "front end leaves no do.
Designed for this brave and environmentally friendly new world, the Ener-G-Force is powered not by an internal-combustion engine, but by a hydrogen fuel cell and four in-wheel electric motors. The "hydro-tech converter" is fed by "recycled" water stored in tanks on the roof. If it sounds a bit outlandish, just remember that Daimler has a history of predicting a hydrogen-powered future, and has invested piles of R&D dollars toward the tech. Moreover, this vehicle is conceived for the year 2025, and by then the cops probably will feel the need to make up for decades of crappy Crown Vic fuel economy. The range? Five-hundred miles, says Daimler.
Stylistically, the concept takes key lines, elements, and proportions from the original G-wagen, but you need to see the vehicles side by side to appreciate the similarities. They include the upward-kink on top of the D-pillar, the turn signals mounted on the hood, and the low-mounted horizontal taillights.
Thanks to: Car and Driver