A novel excitation technique is described for molecular gas lasers. A specially constructed electrode configuration is activated by a rapid Marx generator. A very homogeneous selfsustained discharge can be obtained although no separate preionization source is present. The construction is applied to a CO2 system. Details of the operating characteristics are given. We found the maximum energy production to be over 60 J per liter and a small-signal gain of 6% per cm could be reached.