By Jody McCutcheon
Once upon a time, vehicles were built to last.
Not so much any more. And if the Mercedes-Benz Biome car concept is any indication, vehicles of the future won’t even built. They’ll be grown, in laboratories.
Yes, you heard correctly: we’ll soon be driving around in living organisms. First unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge, the Biome represents a brilliant synergy of nature and technology. Made of an organic material called BioFibre that’s stronger than metal, lighter than plastic and fully biodegradable, the car weighs in at just under 400 kilograms.
The entire vehicle is produced from six seeds, each resembling the Mercedes-Benz star icon. Buyer requests for specs and options are genetically programmed into these seeds’ DNA sequences, and the seeds mature into the desired end product, thanks to BioFibre. The star seed on the front “grill” spawns the car interior, while the rear “bumper” star seed spawns the exterior. The other four seeds produce the wheels, one each, including brakes, suspension and propulsion system. BioFibre’s versatility even enables transparency to produce windows.
The Biome is fuelled by something equally as futuristic. Called BioNectar 4534, it’s generated as a sort of byproduct of the interaction of solar energy and the vehicular organism itself, and used or stored for as-needed “consumption” by the vehicle’s wheels. Mercedes-Benz has even developed technology to equip trees with solar receptors that will harvest the sun’s energy, which can then be collected by the Biome and converted into BioNectar 4534. What better incentive to plant more trees, so as to harvest more energy? Best of all, the Biome’s only emission byproduct would be oxygen, thus it reduces air pollution and increases air quality.
The Mercedes Benz Biome car is at least a decade away. But the fact that a car company is thinking that far ahead, and that ecologically, bodes well for the connected futures of style, transport and planet.