To mark the opening of its new Beijing R&D center, Mercedes-Benz unveiled a G-Code concept, a small crossover that’s literally covered in the latest green technology.
The egg-shaped G-Code is smaller than the recently-introduced GLA-Class and fits into the burgeoning subcompact crossover segment populated by the Buick Encore, Nissan Juke, and others. However, it’s main purpose isn’t to preview a future production model.
The G-Code was built to show off Mercedes’ most advanced styling and technology in what has become the world’s largest new-car market. It’s got a few gadgets Chinese buyers won’t find in a new C-Class.
That includes the powertrain, which consists of a hydrogen-powered internal-combustion engine (no fuel cells here) powering the front axle, and an electric motor powering the rear axle.
The G-Code does have an onboard battery pack that can be charged from a conventional socket, but it also features “multi-voltaic” paint that turns the entire exterior into a solar panel, converting sunlight into electricity.
The magic paint apparently can not only absorb sunlight like a conventional solar panel, but also harvest electrostatic energy from wind rushing across its surface. There’s also a suspension system that collects energy from the movement of its dampers, and a more conventional regenerative braking system.
The interior’s design is just as forward-looking as the exterior, with a streamlined central dashboard display and likely impractical steering yoke. It’s even got room for two electric scooters, charged by the G-Code’s various energy-recovery systems.
It’s unclear when any of this nifty technology will make it to production, but expect the G-Code itself to appear at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show later this month.