Mercedes has revealed its entry, the “Ener-G-Force,” which was designed by Hubert Lee in the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Carlsbad, California.
On the eve of the 2012 LA Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz is showing us what it came up with for this year’s Los Angeles Design Challenge. The challenge for this year’s 2012 LA Design Challenge was to create concept for a future police vehicle that is large, efficient and handles all types of terrain.
Of course, for Mercedes-Benz that means the G-Class is the first thing that comes to mind for the designers and engineers at the brand. For years, the G-Class has been regarded as one of the best off-roading SUVs, but this time around we’re getting to see the future of the model has in store in terms of capability, design and efficiency.
“Of course we wanted to take a clear step forward, but we also wanted the G’s characteristic features.” said Ener-G-Force Designer Hubert Lee.
The Ener-G's tail is its biggest break from tradition. Rounded rear fenders stick out a ways from the body itself, and give the Ener-G haunches the original G never had. Slender tail lamps are still set low in the body, but now wrap around the corner of the car, much like those on the exotic SLS AMG sports car. Despite all this, there's still an abundance of old-school G cues. A duckbill-like kink at the roof's peak echoes the G-Class' drip rail. The tailgate's chamfer recalls a similar recess on the G-Class.
A raised, rectangular portion of the tailgate is offset much like the G-Class's spare tire cover, but holds tools and gear -- not an extra wheel and tire. The Ener-G-Force's exterior is riddled with clever -- if not quirky -- detail. LED headlamps are cleverly arranged to resemble the letter 'G.' A faux air extractor on each side of the hood echoes those on today's G550 and G63 AMG models. A winch is attractively nestled into the center of the front bumper.
Large, 20-inch wheels use a five-split-spoke pattern, much like today's G. The civilian-grade concept model boasts a four-lamp off-road light pod, while the roof rack boasts integrated accent lighting. Benz suggests a police-spec model would use these spots to install the typical red-and-blue strobe lighting.
“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. “Modern and cool, it could also be a clue about a new beginning for the off-road design idiom of Mercedes-Benz.”
The full-scale Ener-G-Force concept was penned—or shall we say, sculpted—by designer Hubert Lee, who was also responsible for the current era CLS. As such, this particular four-wheeled expression offers a fanciful but forceful portrayal of future all-wheel drive law enforcement, less in keeping with the G-Class's traditional ruler-sharp lineography and more along the lines of an über SUV of the future, with the few carryover G-Class style trademarks including cues like fender-mounted turn signal and running lights. From that perspective, Mercedes-Benz’s description of the Ener-G-Force being an expression of "intensity and tension" is spot on—and precisely the reason why we'd love to see one of these bad boys patrolling our streets some day.
Ener-G-Force, which rides on 20-inch wheels and carries recycled water in tanks on the roof, was designed under the leadership of Hubert Lee by the Mercedes-Benz team housed at the company's Advanced Design Studio in Carlsbad, California. The water from the roof-top tanks can be converted to hydrogen that is then fed into fuel cell stacks to generate electricity. Electrical power is then transferred to battery packs in the vehicle's lower side skirts to drive the four wheel-hub motors. Mercedes-Benz estimates the range of the vehicle to be around 800km.