Each year manufacturers submit entries for the LA Design Challenge. They range from wacky to sedate (and mostly the former). This year’s entrant for Mercedes-Benz is called the Ener-G-Force.
As the G in its name implies, it is an SUV that aims at being a modern take of the G wagon. The G wagon has been around since 1979 and has changed remarkably little over its existence. Its design and off-road prowess have turned it into an icon for Mercedes.
Given this, they have been hesitant to touch it and don’t show any plans to do so. With the Ener-G-Force however, they’re giving a hint at what a successor could look like. Still recognizable as a G wagon, the Ener-G-Force looks thoroughly modern as well. It is in the vein of recent concepts we’ve seen in this segment such as a Land Rover DC100 concept. The LA Design Challenge is all about new ideas and vehicles of the future. As such, Mercedes dreamed up an interesting powertrain system.
It is a combination of fuel cells and batteries with a focus on off-road ability. There are electric motors at each wheel and the system has a projected range of 500 miles. The most unique feature in this regard is the roof rack. When it’s raining the system is designed to collect water for conversion into hydrogen. Pie in the sky? Sure, but it’s interesting to see what designers will come up with. This year’s Design Challenge has six entries. As usual, the winner will be announced on November 29th at the LA auto show.