The Mercedes-Benz G-Class, or G-wagen – short for Geländewagen – has been around since 1979. It looks like Mercedes-Benz could be offering this iconic, off-road capable SUV for many more years.

Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Carlsbad, California created the Ener-G-Force concept shown at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show, a civilian version of the Mercedes-Benz entry in the 2012 Los Angeles Design Challenge. Mercedes-Benz was one of six entrants that presented their vision of the Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025, this year’s theme.

The futuristic Ener-G-Force is powered by hydrogen fuel cells supplying electricity to four wheel-hub motors that motivate 20-inch wheels. Advanced electronics adapts power output for each individual wheel to provide precisely the right amount of traction required for the respective terrain. A roof-mounted, 360-degree ‘Terra-Scan’ topography scanner provides a handy read on nearby surroundings, with scan results used to adjust the spring and damping rates as well as other suspension parameters for maximum on- and off-road traction.

Recycled water stored in tanks on the Ener-G-Force roof is transferred to an on-board hydro-tech converter, which in turn electrolyzes water into hydrogen for the fuel cells. This renewable energy could provide an estimated zero-emission operating range of about 500 miles.

The vehicle’s strikingly-styled side skirts are designed to house either energy storage units or hot-swappable battery packs. Color changes in the side skirts’ illumination indicate energy pack operating and charge status.

The police version is differentiated with emergency lights integrated into the roof and other law enforcement equipment and markings. Less glass area is also found on the police variant to provide a safer environment cocoon for police officers.