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Mercedes gets back to nature

The Mercedes-Benz Biome concept car.
The Mercedes-Benz Biome concept car. Drive

IT grows from seeds into a car, is powered by BioNectar, can create its own oxygen and can be composted at the end of its life.

Take a close look at this Mercedes-Benz Biome concept that’s more Blade Runner than reality; its curvaceous exterior just might point to a future eco supercar.

Unveiled as a full-size model at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge, the Biome was created by Mercedes-Benz’s Californian design studio boss Hubert Lee  — the man who penned the forthcoming CLS four-door coupe and its F800 Style precursor concept shown at this year’s Geneva motor show.

The Biome concept is said to be shorter than Mercedes-Benz’s top-selling C-Class sedan, significantly wider than the GL-Class off-roader and lower than an SLK roadster.

Inspired by nature, Lee describes the concept as a biofibre body that grows in a completely organic environment from seeds sown in a nursery and powered by a leafy powertrain that emits pure oxygen.

Despite its fictional origins, the Biome’s striking design and low-slung stance may offer some realistic merit by previewing styling cues of an eco supercar to rival BMW’s Vision EfficientDynamics, which is confirmed for production from late 2013.

The brief for this year’s competition was to design a car weighing no more than 454 kilograms that could carry four people in safety and comfort. If built, expect the production version to have body panels constructed of carbon fibre and weigh about 1500 kilograms, similar to the BMW.

Mercedes may also apply the concept’s central driving position like the world’s fastest naturally aspirated car, the McLaren F1, though the concept’s 1+2+1 seating configuration remains uncertain.

"We wanted to illustrate the vision of the perfect vehicle of the future ... [the Biome] grows and thrives like the leaves on a tree,’’ says Lee.

At the end of its life, the Biome can theoretically be composted or used as building material.


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