The boxy Merc built on combustion engines to get batteries.
Mercedes-Benz took decades to advance its G-Class from the original car to a true second-generation vehicle.
Change might be coming much quicker for the brand’s boxy extreme 4x4 in future, as public perception and regulations make its staggering appetite for fuel untenable.
The G-Class is amongst Mercedes-Benz’s least efficient vehicles, despite having some of its most modern and contemporary engines. Featuring the least aerodynamic styling of any production Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicle, G-Class is a target for critique by European anti-car pressure groups.
Mercedes-Benz is in a bit of a bind with G-Class. It is one of the company’s most profitable models and one which cannot be radically redesigned, as the un-aerodynamic appearance is part of its unique appeal in the market.
To solve the issue of G-Class inefficiency, whilst retaining its design appeal, Mercedes-Benz’s is going to electrify it. Mercedes-Benz’s new CEO, Ola Källenius, announced that an electric G-Class was being developed.
By adding batteries, the G-Class mass will increase even further, but its overall reduction in emissions will offset that.
What a battery-powered drivetrain will do, is also enhance the G-Class off-road ability. Without half shafts or traditional differentials, it will have even more ground clearance. Stability will also benefit greatly, as a battery pack in the SUV’s floor structure, will give it tremendously improved high-speed cruising stability – and prevent rollover in extreme off-road conditions.
G-Class might be the strangest candidate for electrification, but Mercedes-Benz has a production advantage in adding batteries to its iconic off-roader. The Austrian city of Graz has some of the world’s most advanced battery and electrical engineering companies operating in its industrial zone.
Mercedes-Benz also builds the G-Class in Graz, which means that it has access to a sophisticated electric drivetrain supply chain. In fact, there is already a battery version of the G-Class, built by Austrian electric vehicle specialist, Kreisel, which is good for 360 kW.