Roadshow Video Reviews
Mercedes F125! conceptThe S Class of fuel cell cars.
Wow, that's a big old gull-wing door, isn't it? This is one of the belles of the ball here at Frankfurt 2011, the Mercedes F-125! Concept. By the way, the end of the name has an exclamation mark on it and for pretty good reason. There's an awful lot of tech going on here. First of all, the power train. There's an electric motor out at each wheel, one at each corner. That's not too exotic. Totals 313 horsepower but the torque, of course, would be right now. But it's a hydrogen fuel cell car, so you can go a thousand kilometers that's like 600 and something miles on a belly of hydrogen except it wouldn't be a belly of hydrogen; it would be a body of hydrogen. You see, they're going to store the hydrogen compressed in cavities around the body. I don't think I've heard of that before in any of the various hydrogen concepts that are out there. Now let's talk about some of the technology that's more consumer electronic. You see these doors as they go up and down, those are gesture control. So you walk up to the door and just go [unk], the door goes up and then the door goes down. You've also got gesture control on that nice big display for the passenger. If they wanna go to the next track on a DVD or a CD, they just do this kind of thing, Menu, all this sort of thing is very much like Connect for example. The display to the right of the driver and the central tunnel, it's a curved display, totally in focus, done by some interesting new rear projection with sort of an arch algorithm to make sure that all stays in focus from one projector beam. That's amazing. And then look at that display in front of the driver, that's actually 3D. You can't see that in our 2D stream of course. Now, what's behind all those systems? One of the most interesting things to me is 100% internet-streamed infotainment. So anything from the media to the weather to the news, all these sources coming in, they're thinking 100% streaming at this point. Oh, let me show you an interesting way to configure it. So what Mercedes says is its cars get so complex and so rich with their infotainment and setting and configurability, you need a way to do all that when you're not just sitting in the car. That's one place, but other times, you've got more time to sit down and think, "How do I wanna set my car up not sitting here in the driveway like some dork?" So they give you this very rich app that they've envisioned for the F-125. Let's just go to one part of this, the entertainment block. Here I have a whole variety of sources, information and entertainment, news, weather, music. The music, for example, I can take and drag down to this timeline which roughly matched to my route in navigation. So these things are going to happen in order of the trip. What's in the music? This is all Napster-powered right now. They could have any number of partners though. This is again part of that all streaming entertainment system. Here, playlists. If I go over here, here are Napster channels. I think you could imagine anybody being in this. It could be also Pandora. It could be Spotify, anyone-- a software is software. This stuff gets really interesting as you start to go to that level. I can bring a weather report down here. Whatever I want along my route or directly access it in here and, of course, there are many other settings and configurability options in here to set up a car that now has arguably maybe a thousand different configurations. No 2 cars will be the same. It's-- as they say, it's like a smartphone you can sit in and no 2 smartphones are the same. So it's hard to see how we connect the dots here. I need a different interface. Oh, one more thing I wanna show you. If it's a smartphone you can sit in, I do wanna sit and then check out the rear seat lounge. That's like a corner group. I haven't seen anything that cool since like the '68 Eldorado. I'm in.