Home2012 Los Angeles Auto Show
Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2012 LA Auto Show
Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force

What is it? This futuristic design study projects what a highway patrol vehicle might look like in 2015. Apparently, Mercedes doesn’t expect the pavement to hold up that well since it’s been conceived as the ultimate off-roader.

Modeled after Mercedes’ iconic G-Class SUV, the Ener-G-Force uses a fuel-cell drivetrain that employs separate electric motors at each wheel and has a 500-mile range. Recycled water, stored in tanks on the roof, is run through an on-board converter that extracts hydrogen for the fuel cells. Energy storage units housed in the side skirts can be swapped out, and changes in the side skirts’ illumination indicate the units’ charge status.

Large boulders pose no problem for the 20-inch wheels and tires. A couple neat touches include a pull-out toolbox in the rear, located behind what looks like a spare-tire cover, and headlamp LEDs that form the letter “G.”

What’s new or notable? A 360-degree topography scanner continually monitors the surrounding terrain and dynamically adjusts the suspension for maximum traction.

Consumer Reports New cars: A to Z

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