German car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz's new Beijing design studio has unveiled a concept hybrid Sports Utility Coupé (SUC) with a skin that generates electricity using solar and wind power.
"For the automotive industry, China has become the most important market worldwide," said Hubertus Troska, board member of Mercedes' parent company, Daimler AG. "The country is truly in fast forward mode."
In an attempt to improve both the driving and living experience in China's traffic-filled mega-cities, designers at Mercedes' Advanced Design Studio – which officially opened yesterday in Beijing – equipped the G-Code with a plug-in hybrid drive system that has a long electric operating range to reduce emissions.
A combustion engine, which runs on hydrogen, would power the front wheels and an electric motor drives the rear axle, transmitting power to each of the rear wheels selectively.
In addition to plug-in technology, the G-Code would also be able to generate electricity via its "multi-voltaic silver" finish, which acts like a giant solar cell. It also charges electrostatically using wind that passes the car as it travels, or natural breezes when stationary.
Targeted at city dwellers driving on a day-to-day basis, the concept study includes cameras positioned at the top of each disguised A pillar – vertical supports holding either side of the windshields in place – to replace the standard rear-view mirrors. Images from the rear-view cameras are superimposed at the edges of the wide-screen display across the instrument panel.
The design form also enhances forward-facing views of the road with its continuous glass area, starting on each side of the car and flowing around to form the vehicle's windshield.
"The G-Code is both beautiful and intelligent, and interprets our typical Mercedes Coupé design idiom," said Gorden Wagener, head of design of Daimler AG.
Replacing conventional radiator grilles that cool engines located at the front-end of a vehicle, G-Code incorporates a louvered grille surrounded by a continuous digital display visualising the operating mode of the car.
The display pulsates with blue light when the car is parked, constantly lights up in the same colour when running in its all-electric mode, changes to purple when powered via both its front engine and rear electric motor, and illuminates vivid red in sport mode.
At the rear, an LED light strip stretches entirely across its width, hosting indicators, tail lights and break lights.
The G-Code was presented at the opening of the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Beijing on 3 November 2014.