Hydrogen-powered cars are a greener alternative to those powered by petrol. One new Mercedes-Benz concept car is not only powered by hydrogen, but by its paint job as well. The Vision G-Code SUV is finished in "multi-voltaic silver" paint that harvests solar and wind energy.

The G-Code is by no means the first Mercedes concept to focus on blue-sky environmental ideals. The 2010 Biome was proposed to be grown in the lab rather than built in a factory and would be fully biodegradable. Whilst not quite that outlandish, the G-Code concept is nonetheless very novel.

According to Mercedes, the multi-voltaic paint acts like "a giant solar cell with excellent efficiency," recovering solar energy and relaying it into the car's internal system. In addition, it can be charged electrostatically, by the relative wind caused by driving or the natural wind when the vehicle is stationary. The G-Code also features what Mercedes calls "power on the move" suspension, which recovers energy from the motion of the suspension to generate electricity.

Beyond its innovative paintwork, the G-Code has three different driving modes. It can be configured for maximum efficiency, for maximum driving comfort or for sports performance. Depending on the mode selected, the vehicle can be driven by the front wheels, by the rear wheels or in a variable all-wheel setup. This is facilitated by what Mercedes calls a digital prop shaft between the front and rear axles.

The G-Code features LED headlights and an LED strip across its rear that includes the indicators, tail lights, and brake lights. The grille is also illuminated with colored lighting depending on what mode the car is in.

Inside, the car's steering wheel folds away when not in use and the pedals retract. The G-Code is started using a smartphone app and a head-up display provides driver information. Rear-view camera feeds are superimposed into the display and the car features a variety of monitoring technologies, including 3D cameras, radar, infra-red scanner and GPS.

Drivers and passengers also benefit from air conditioning that cleans the air on entry, as well as "health monitoring" seats that have built-in heating, cooling and massage functions. Two electric scooters are stowed in a luggage compartment for onwards traveling once the car has been parked.

The G-Code was shown off at the opening of the new Mercedes Product Engineering Center in Beijing.

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