Turns out the Mercedes G-Class isn’t that great off-road. Not compared to Hyundai’s CES concept, anyway. The ‘Elevate’ (so-called for reasons that ought to be obvious, if you’ve already scrolled through the pics) is what Hyundai calls a ‘Ultimate Mobility Vehicle’, or UMV.
Because it has LEGS, people. Actual legs. Hyundai says this means it can “traverse terrain beyond the limitations of even the most capable off-road vehicle”, walk in “mammalian and reptilian style gaits”, step over a five-foot gap in the road or climb a five-foot high wall. The legs, which can lock in any position, even fold up under the body, so on roads the Elevate can drive along on its wheels like a normal car. Naturally, power comes from electric hub motors at each corner.
The platform is modular, so the body can be swapped out as needs be. Its maker says it would be especially good for disaster relief, because it can get places normal rescue vehicles just can’t, and much more quickly.
David Byron, design manager at Sundberg-Ferar – the “innovation studio” that helped Hyundai design the thing – said: “Imagine a car stranded in a snow ditch just 10 feet off the highway being able to walk or climb over the treacherous terrain, back to the road potentially saving its injured passengers – this is the future of vehicular mobility.”
Reckon he’s right?