Published on November 7th, 2014 | By: April Gocha, PhD0
Mercedes-Benz’s new concept car harvests sun with its paint and has faux warp drivePublished on November 7th, 2014 | By: April Gocha, PhD
Remember those creative writing exercises from your early education—the teacher would instruct you to write a short story, essay, or poem about whatever your imaginative brain could come up with?
I particularly remember one stroke of genius I had at an early elementary age (second grade, I think) when we were learning about poems. In a CTT first, I’m going to reveal my first recorded poetic masterpiece—here goes:
You ate a cup
You got mixed up
Before you scoff, I will say that the original was accompanied by a pretty fantastic original sketch of a penguin, in fact eating a teacup, as he perched atop his ice floe. I will also say that my first poem is synonymous with my last, for obvious reasons.
Creating concept cars is a bit like those creative writing exercises—let your imagination run wild.
While many concept cars are more an exercise in marketing and creativity than actual production possibilities, they are nonetheless fun to look at, think about, and dream of one day driving (like this “ceramic” Mazda that got fellow editor Jessica fist-pumping).
Mercedes-Benz’s newest conceptual vision, the G-code, is an equally impressive exercise in creative thinking about what cars can do, evoke, and look like.
The G-code is a hybrid sport utility coupe—smaller than a sport utility vehicle—that’s equipped with both an electric motor and turbocharged, hydrogen-powered combustion engine. The system is envisioned to allow drivers to vary input of each power source depending on the driving mode, whether the goal is efficiency, comfort, or performance. Pair that with a powertrain that can toggle between front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive modes, and this car is ready for almost anything.
The concept also has a lot of extras that make it seem straight out of a Jetsons episode (minus the flying bit), even if Mercedes-Benz does get a bit new-age in its description of the new car with phrases like “design philosophy of sensual purity” (are we still talking about a car here?).
Anyways, one really cool feature is that the car is covered in “multi-voltaic silver” paint that harvests sun and wind to provide extra electricity to the vehicle’s methane and hydrogen synthesis systems.
(Side note: Harvesting and shuttling energy in a vehicle from the outside-in isn’t that crazy of an idea—scientists at Queensland University of Technology in Australia say that cars covered with energy-harvesting supercapacitors could be the future.)
And in another move toward “decentralised generation of electricity,” the car also harnesses movement from the suspension system’s hydraulic springs and dampeners to harvest electricity by using movement of hydraulic fluid to drive a compact current generator.
From a visual perspective, G-code is sleek. The windshield completely wraps around the vehicle in a loving embrace, a design that masks those unsightly A-frame pillars.
And if you’re looking for the B-frame (between the front and rear doors), you won’t find that either. According to Mercedes-Benz, this feature is an added bonus for passengers: “The act of getting into the G-Code is an experience in itself.” I think they might be overestimating the amount of pleasure passengers will get from this feature, but the rear suicide doors are nonetheless spiffy (impracticality is not a consideration when designing a concept car).
Mercedes is also quite fond of its very un-grill-like front display, which was inspired by Star Trek’s warp drive. Although the G-code won’t let you travel through space, it’s front display is complete with a “multi-layered star matrix.” According to Mercedes-Benz, the display changes with the driving mode, going from a “softly pulsating” blue while parked to a tunneling display that changes direction and color with the driving mode.
The car also has LED headlights that focus light like the “lens of digital camera” and an LED taillight strip that sweeps across the entire rear of the car. Adding to its sleek exterior is the lack of side mirrors, which are replaced with retractable cameras that display in the car’s equally space-age dashboard.
That dashboard display, by the way, emerges from the dash along with the steering wheel, in what’s apparently an effort to initially confuse anyone without a smartphone.
Yep, the car is controlled by a smartphone. So ditch those keys jangling in your pocket and pray that you never again forget to charge your phone.
Continuing on the inside, Mercedes-Benz lets the creativity get to their head a bit with more new-age-y statements like this: “The interior specialists deliberately let digital and analogue worlds collide.”
The carbon fiber and leather-clad interior seats come equipped with heating/cooling systems to control each passenger’s perfect climate and massagers to ease stiff muscles during long car rides. And, those systems are automatically activated based upon data collected by 3D body scanners.
You know, so you can waste all that ecofriendly electricity the car just collected from sun and wind.
The vehicle is designed to comfortably seat four passengers, although the rear seats do tuck away for extra cargo space. And there’s another bonus—two mini scooters are hidden under the floor of the rear cargo area for city travel after you park your sweet (future) ride.
Although Mercedes-Benz makes it very clear that it has no intention to put the G-code into production in any foreseeable future, it’s nonetheless fun to think about how cars might change in the future. My fingers are crossed for a more functional warp drive.
Credit: Mercedes-Benz; YouTube
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