Off-road technology and green technology do not often mix, but Mercedes-Benz has decided to show us what kind of vehicle might result if a mix were attempted. The vehicle is called the Ener-G-Force, and this is not really intended to make it to production, but rather was built originally as part of the Los Angeles Design Challenge 2012. The idea was actually to build a vehicle for law enforcement, and Mercedes simply decided to skip over the type of large but fairly dull sedans driven by most of law enforcement and instead focus on the needs of agencies that need a more capable vehicle. Mercedes then brought a civilian version of the concept to the L.A. Auto Show.
Mercedes wanted the Ener-G-Force to be green, but a battery electric vehicle clearly wouldn’t do, the limited range of these vehicles simply wouldn’t work for an off-roader. So the vehicle is powered by hydrogen, thanks to a made-up piece of technology called a “hydro-tech converter”. This converts recycled water into hydrogen for the vehicle’s fuel cells, which in turn emit nothing but water vapor. The Ener-G-Force has a roof-mounted terrain mapper, which reads the landscape and can make adjustments to the vehicle’s suspension accordingly. This, sadly, is also made up. But that doesn’t mean that everything about the vehicle is pure fantasy, the Ener-G-Force employs four electric motors to drive the wheels, one at each hub, and this is a very practical setup for whenever the rest of the electric off-roading technology becomes viable.
The vehicle’s styling is also quite logical, being essentially an evolution of the current G-Class off-roader. Mercedes say that the Ener-G-Force would have a range of “about 500 miles”, although if it is essentially powered by water, this isn’t a huge concern and is really all made up anyway. That said, were such a vehicle to actually exist, it would really be quite an exciting piece of machinery. We’re genuinely impressed by the effort made on the part of Mercedes to make the concept as plausible as they could, even if it is not currently possible. We have therefore, as you may have already seen, named it as one of our favorite picks of the L.A. Auto Show. So figure out that hydro-tech converter, Mercedes, and then we’ll take one in silver.