Mercedes-Benz G-CODE (CONCEPT)

Written By: Brittney B.

                                                    mercedes-benz g-code concept

From hydrogen-fueled SUVs to luxury sports cars that charge wirelessly, most modern automotive innovations are lauded as green "game-changers" as soon as they debut. That description has never been as accurate as it is for the Mercedes-Benz Vision G-Code. Everything from the powertrain to the paint is a daring and groundbreaking departure from the status quo, so while the G-Code will never actually go into production, it's already one of the most exciting releases of the new millennium. 

When Mercedes opened their brand new Production Engineering Center in early November 2014, all eyes instantly focused on the G-Code. As the Beijing design studio's first official vehicle study, this ultra-modern prototype is a promising indication of the sustainability and style innovations yet to come for the German automaker. In fact, that's its whole purpose: to preview exclusive technologies that could change everything in the years ahead. But what, exactly, makes this hybrid crossover so special — and what does that suggest about future Mercedes-Benz lineups? 

Powered by the paint itself

In the ever-changing race to reduce emissions and dependence on gasoline, most electric and hybrid vehicles are efficient because of the motors and batteries that power them, either alongside or completely independent of combustion engines. The G-Code does feature a remarkable hybrid drive system that shatters industry standards, but without a doubt, its most groundbreaking component is actually on the outside. A holographic radiator grille features a multi-layered matrix of LED stars, which move and change colors to indicate which mode the vehicle is in: all-electric hybrid for maximum efficiency, mixed hybrid for maximum comfort, or hybrid sport for maximum performance. And if that sounds impressive, just wait: one of the power supplies that make these modes possible is the paint itself. 

The G-Code's exterior is covered in a continuous coat of silver paint that generates electricity from two different renewable sources: sunlight and wind. This "multi-voltaic" paint is actually one big solar cell that harnesses energy from the sun itself, but — as if that's not enough — it also gets an electrostatic charge from the wind that hits it. While hydrogen fuel cell stacks power the motors of most hydrogen-fueled electric vehicles, the G-Code's turbocharged combustion engine relies on synthesis of these natural electric charges, as well as electrolysis of its own water emissions, for the hydrogen fuel that drives its two front wheels. Meanwhile, an electric motor drives the rear axle with help from a hydraulic suspension system, allowing the vehicle to achieve the ultimate synergy when it's in all-wheel drive mode. Of course, the game-changing doesn't stop there. 

Mercedes-Benz G-Code Concept

Innovative from the inside out 

Not content with the mere "subcompact crossover" or "coupé" categories, Mercedes followed BMW's 2008 lead and classified this sustainable new model as a Sports Utility Coupé, or SUC. If that sounds familiar, it's probably because parent company Daimler debuted another electric SUC, the Smart Forstars, at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. The Forstars introduced — among other innovations — the cosmic combination of a glass roof and a video projector, which synchronized with the entertainment system to project movies straight from the hood. Those details were certainly creative, but the Mercedes G-Code is still the most inventive and unique SUC to date, and not just because of its energy efficiency. Behind the G-Code's seamlessly continuous glasshouse, the interior cabin is also packed with features from the future. 

Inside the black-and-white cabin, high-contrast and high-tech details include dirt-resistant floors, a smartphone docking station, an extra-long widescreen display, a fold-away steering wheel, stand-up scooters beneath the floor, and four stylishly sculpted carbon-fiber bucket seats. These seats actually prevent muscle tension and fatigue, thanks to 3-D body scanners and responsive heating, cooling, and massaging features. Even the air conditioning system is in on the health-conscious innovations: it uses photosynthesis to remove allergens and particles from incoming air, directly targeting the urban Asian lifestyles that inspired the car's design. 

Foreshadowing a brave new world 

Other automakers don't have to worry about competing with the G-Code anytime soon. It's a visionary concept with technologies that aren't even close to feasible for mass production. However, the whole industry should pay attention to the practical and sustainable advantages that Mercedes engineers pioneered for this vehicle. Its passive energy generation methods don't just eliminate carbon dioxide emissions or the need for gas stations; it also works without charging a battery or hooking up to a hydrogen fueling station.

Instead of waiting for government agencies and energy industries to make alternative fuel sources more accessible, automakers throughout the world should follow the G-Code's lead. But for now, consumers can rest assured that at least one automaker is pursuing the possibility of a synergistic, self-sustaining electric vehicle.