Mercedes-Benz researchers and engineers have for the first time searched for a prototype in nature that approximates an aerodynamic, safe, comfortable and environmentally compatible car. They found a source of inspiration that, despite its box-shaped body, has excellent aerodynamic properties: the boxfish.
The boxfish-inspired bionic car undercuts the drag coefficient values for modern compact cars by more than 65%. The boxfish is a model of rigidity and lightweight design. Its outer skin is made up of numerous bony hexagonal plates, which combine maximum strength with minimum weight. By transferring this principle to the bionic car, the weight of the bodyshell is reduced by about one third without diminishing its rigidity or crash safety.
The "boxfish principle" also achieves a significant reduction in fuel consumption: the 103 kW direct-injection diesel engine uses just 4.3 litres per 100 km in the European combined driving cycle. This figure is 20 percent lower than that of a comparable series-production model. And at a constant 90 km/h, fuel consumption drops to just
2.8 litres per 100 km.
Minimum emissions also play a key role in the bionic car. As well as an oxidation catalytic converter and particulate filter as standard, a special technology is employed to convert nitrogen oxide into harmless nitrogen and water. The effect in the European test cycle is a reduction of up to 80% in nitrogen oxide emissions.