At this year's Los Angeles Design Challenge, the designers from the Mercedes Benz Advanced Design Studios in Carlsbad, California, surprised everyone with a revolutionary vision. Taking their inspiration from nature, they designed a vehicle which is fully integrated into the ecosystem, from the moment of its creation right through to the end of its service life. The Mercedes Benz BIOME grows in a completely organic environment from seeds sown in a nursery. Out on the road the car emits pure oxygen, and at the end of its lifespan it can be simply composted or used as building material.
"As the inventor of the motor car, we wanted to illustrate the vision of the perfect vehicle of the future, which is created and functions in complete symbiosis with nature. The Mercedes Benz BIOME is a natural technology hybrid, and forms part of our earth's ecosystem. It grows and thrives like the leaves on a tree," according to Hubert Lee, Head of the Mercedes Benz Advanced Design Studios in Carlsbad. This year the competition had called for the creation of a vision of a safe and comfortable 2+2 compact car featuring good handling and a first-class design, and weighing only 1,000 lbs (around 454 kg/kerb weight).
The Mercedes Benz BIOME symbiosis vehicle is made from an ultralight material called BioFibre and tips the scales at just 875.5 lbs (around 394 kg). This material is significantly lighter than metal or plastic, yet more robust than steel. BioFibre is grown from proprietary DNA in the Mercedes Benz nursery, where it collects energy from the sun and stores it in a liquid chemical bond called BioNectar4534. As part of this process, the vehicle is created from two seeds: The interior of the BIOME grows from the DNA in the Mercedes star on the front of the vehicle, while the exterior grows from the star on the rear. To accommodate specific customer requirements, the Mercedes star is genetically engineered in each case, and the vehicle "grows" when the genetic code is combined with the seed capsule. The wheels are grown from four separate seeds.
The Mercedes Benz BIOME is powered by BioNectar4534, which is stored in the BioFibre material of the chassis, interior, and wheels. In addition, Mercedes Benz has developed a technology to equip trees with special receptors which can collect the excess solar energy and turn it into BioNectar4534. This creates a direct link with nature's energy sources and acts as an incentive to cover mobility energy requirements through more trees and at the same time maintain natural resources. Like plants, the Mercedes Benz symbiosis vehicle also produces oxygen, thereby contributing to improving air quality. At the end of its service life, the Mercedes Benz BIOME can be fully composted or used as building material. Thanks to the exclusive use of green technologies, the BIOME vehicle thus blends seamlessly into the ecosystem.Published 18 November 2010