Ahead of its debut at the upcoming LA Auto Show, Mercedes has released images and details on its latest SUV concept.
Mercedes-Benz may be best known for its luxury cars, but the company also makes heavy-duty trucks and rough-and-tumble off-roaders. Its G-Class SUV has been around since 1979, and is set for a full redesign in the near future. But the German automaker is pondering what its Gelandewagen would look like if it were still around in 2025 with this concept truck, set to be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show as part of this year's Design Challenge.
While the design challenge entry takes more of a law-enforcement approach in line with the contest guidelines, Mercedes is also showing this civilian version called the Ener-G-Force concept. Envisioning a future where public roadways will be more closely monitored and regulated, the Ener-G-Force is designed to give motorists more freedom in off-road excursions. The design, penned by the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Carlsbad, California, is dominated by its oversized 20-inch wheels with chunky off-road tires and a short greenhouse that looks to shelter its occupants from the elements.
The smooth, sculpted bodywork that bridges between those narrow windows and bulky wheels looks like it would be harder to maintain in adverse conditions than the slab sheetmetal of the long-serving G-Wagen, but then this is a concept vehicle that isn't likely ever to see any of the off-road expeditions in which its inspiration so often partakes. The Ener-G-Force is conceptually powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, supplied by recycled water tanks on the roof and battery packs in the mounted in the side skirts, channeled to four individual wheel-hub motors for a theoretical 500-mile range.
Another party piece incorporated into the concept is a Terra-Scan 360-degree topography scanner that monitors the terrain to adjust the springs and dampers on the fly according to the conditions. The overall package looks quite striking, but given its theoretical parameters, Mercedes is probably right in laying this out as a concept that's a good couple of decades away from production.