Mercedes bionic car at New York's Museum of Modern Art
( dpa ) Mercedes is showing a bionic concept car in New York's Museum of Modern Art as part of an exhibition showcasing "trailblazing innovations" in the fields of design and science.
The bionic car, taking design cues from the tropical boxfish, boasts near perfect aerodynamics combined with a lightweight concept.
Powered by a high-tech diesel engine with BLUETEC technology, the bionic car has a fuel consumption of 4.3 litres per 100 kilometres, which makes it 20 per cent more economical than a comparable production model, according to the car maker.
When driven at a constant speed of 90 km/h, the direct-injection model consumes 2.8 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres equivalent to 84 miles per gallon in the US test cycle, Mercedes says.
Engineers, designers and biologists at Mercedes-Benz worked hand in hand to develop the bionic car. Its template was the tropical boxfish or Ostracion Cubicus. The fish was found to be extremely aerodynamic using a minimal amount of energy.
The researchers then developed a process transferring the growth principle used by nature to automobile engineering. Computer simulation was used to configure body and suspension components in such a way that the material in areas subject to lower loads were made thinner while highly stressed areas were reinforced.
The honeycomb-design of the boxfish found its way to the car door, increasing the rigidity by 40 per cent while at the same time reducing weight by 30 per cent, the car maker says.