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Mercedes looks to 2050 with a lounge-like, hydrogen-powered, autonomous van

Mercedes-Benz is making a surprise appearance at the Tokyo Motor Show to introduce a brand new concept car dubbed Vision Tokyo. Designed with the needs of young, tech-savvy Japanese buyers in mind, the Vision Tokyo takes the form of a spacious, lounge-like van that’s both hydrogen-powered and fully autonomous.

The Vision Tokyo stretches to 188 inches long, 82 inches wide, and 63 inches tall, dimensions that make it smaller in all directions than the recently-introduced Metris van. It boasts a cutting-edge design primarily characterized by a gaping digital grille that can be configured to display a wide variety of patterns and colors. Its front end is fitted with thin LED headlights, while the tail lamps are neatly integrated around the rear window. 26-inch alloy wheels and brightly-lit rocker panels add a touch of color to the monochrome Alubeam paint job.

Accessed via a large, top-hinged gullwing door, the cabin offers space for up to five passengers on an oval couch upholstered in white perforated leather. Mercedes chose this setup because it expects that the Vision Tokyo concept will drive itself most of the time, but there’s a jump seat built into the couch should one of the passengers get the sudden urge to take the wheel.

The van’s side windows are screen-printed in the same color as the sheet metal to ensure that the occupants travel in complete privacy. The couch is back-lit to add a touch of elegance to the overall ambiance, and the infotainment system is presented as a series of three-dimensional holograms in the middle of the cabin.

Interestingly, the Vision Tokyo concept can get to know its occupants thanks to an algorithm-based Deep Machine Learning function and a Predictive Engine. Mercedes says the concept was designed to adapt to its occupants’ likes and preferences, but precisely what that entails is anyone’s guess at this point.

The Vision Tokyo concept is equipped with a compact, hydrogen-powered electric drivetrain similar to the one used by the F 015 Luxury in Motion concept that was shown earlier this year at the CES show. The van boasts a total driving range of 608 miles, 120 of which can be driven on electricity alone.

It goes without saying that the Vision Tokyo concept isn’t about to join the Mercedes-Benz lineup as-is. However, its design might influence the company’s next generation of vans, and the self-driving tech will make the jump from concept to production when the all-new 2017 E-Class is introduced early next year at the Detroit Motor Show.

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