By Jonathan Gallegos
on 11.19.12
Photo by MB

From the revamped A-Class to mysterious Affalterbach gems, Mercedes knows a thing or two about pushing the boundaries of automotive design. Most of their time has been spent developing on-road capabilities — but at this year’s LA Design Challenge, Mercedes gave us a look into the off-road future with their Ener-G-Force. For Mercedes, this isn’t pushing the design envelope. This is putting the envelope through the shredder.

Mercedes has taken a decades-old standard, the G-Wagen, and launched it into lunar rover territory with a design that could be right at home in a Prometheus prequel. Looking less like a concept from the three-pointed star brand and more like a Isuzu Vehicross that’s been infused with alien DNA and given a meaty dose of steroids, the Ener-G-Force eschews Merc’s current angular design theme for a far more rounded body. The powertrain, which makes use of an independent motor at each one of the four wheels, is actually fueled by a roof-mounted system that both stores and converts water to hydrogen for the fuel cells (making Ener-G an apt title). The range? An astounding 500 miles. Moon buggy, indeed. Though Mercedes claims the Ener-G-Force keeps some G-Wagen design cues, we’re a bit distracted by the seemingly complete departure from anything square. Those wheels that look like rounded volcanic rocks… slow pedestrians beware.

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