Unveiled at the opening of the Beijing Product Engineering Centre, the Mercedes-Benz Vision G-Code Concept looks like most any futuristic vehicle, except that, even paint-deep, this isn’t any ordinary hydrogen fuel vehicle.
You’ll note, for starters, that it would be entirely incorrect to call the Mercedes-Benz Vision G-Code a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Like hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the Vision G-Code uses hydrogen fuel as its principal source of fuel, but not in a fuel cell. Instead, the Vision G-Code burns hydrogen in a supercharged internal combustion engine (ICE). After this, the car is just like any other plug-in hybrid vehicle, the ICE backed up by an electric motor-generator (MG), and energy storage in a hybrid battery pack.
Just like any plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz Vision G-Code Concept can plug in to recharge its onboard hybrid battery. Likewise, just as any hydrogen fuel vehicle, the Vision G-Code refuels onboard compressed hydrogen cylinders with hydrogen fuel. Where things get really interesting is how the Vision G-Code gets its energy.
Starting with a specially-formulated “multi-voltaic silver” paint finish, the Vision G-Code’s skin generates electricity in two ways. First, the paint effectively turns the entire skin of the Vision G-Code into a painted-on solar panel. Second, the paint is also electrostatically-sensitive, which enables it to generate electricity from the movement of air over the surface, whether sitting still on a windy day or while highway cruising. Then, the hydraulic suspension runs suspension fluid through a small generator, turning every bump and rebound into electricity. Solar, wind, or hydraulic power is then used by the Vision G-Code to generate hydrogen fuel or recharge the hybrid battery pack.
Able to generate, at least some percentage, some of its own hydrogen fuel, and built from lightweight carbon and aluminum, it seems to me that the Mercedes-Benz Vision G-Code Concept could be the greenest concept I have ever seen. Also, the combination of Cylon Interceptor Visor and USS Enterprise Deflector dish just look cool. Still, while a concept like this would never make it to production, these are some pretty good ideas to work into future hybrid and hydrogen fuel vehicle designs.