Never say Mercedes lacks imagination. Indeed, the latest concept vehicle, the Mercedes Vision AVTR, is a testament to the creativity that resides deep within the corporate structure that many see as a relatively stable premium car manufacturer. Where rival BMW looks like it’s going to produce a car with the largest grille in history, Mercedes planners have envisioned a future for the car that expands on the idea of what a car could be. [Notice we did not say it’s what a car should be.]
Mercedes AVTR & Avatar
The AVTR concept vehicle you see here was created in collaboration with the film Avatar team and embodies the vision of Mercedes designers, engineers and trend researchers for the mobility of the far future. Officially, AVTR stands for Advanced Vehicle Transportation, but it also pays homage to the Avatar team’s input.
According to a Mercedes blog post, the Vision AVTR with four high-performance and near-wheel electric motors embodies the vision of a dynamic luxury sedan with particular agility. With a total output of over 350 kW, the Vision AVTR sets a new benchmark for EQ Power.
Thanks to intelligent and fully variable torque distribution, the power of the four fully individually controllable motors is managed not only in the best possible way in terms of driving dynamics, but also in a very efficient way. The innovative all-wheel drive with torque vectoring enables entirely new freedoms and guarantees driving dynamics at the highest level, while providing the highest possible active safety, the company says.
Because each wheel can be driven individually, the Vision AVTR can move sideways by approximately 30 degrees. This so-called “crab move” gives the concept vehicle the ability to glide to match its reptilian look.
Innovative battery technology
The innovative Vision AVTR electric powertrain is based on a powerful and compact high-voltage battery using graphene-based organic cell chemistry. This completely eliminates the use of rare, toxic and expensive materials, making electromobility completely independent of fossil resources. The battery is 100% recyclable and is in line with Mercedes’ mission to make future vehicles part of a fully circular raw material economy.
The battery is said to have an energy density of 1,200 Wh per liter and can be fully charged in less than 15 minutes. Wireless conductive charging technology is also built in. With a capacity of around 110 kWh, the Vision AVTR can travel over 700 km on a full battery charge. Advanced regenerative braking, which is more efficient than conventional systems, contributes to the high energy efficiency of the entire system.
focus on efficiency
At Mercedes, the pursuit of efficiency goes far beyond the simple driving experience. Auxiliary systems such as heating and cooling or the infotainment system are also maximized in efficiency so that they do not negatively affect the driving force of the vehicle itself. Energy consumption per computing task is already a key goal in the development of new computer chips. This trend will continue over the next few years with the growth of sensors and artificial intelligence in the automotive industry.
The nerve-inspired approach used to create the Vision AVTR promises to reduce the energy requirements of sensors, chips and other components to just a few watts. Solar panels integrated into the rear of the vehicle provide much of the power needed to operate these auxiliary systems. 33 multidirectional moving surface elements act as “bionic flaps”.
Fusion of interior and exterior
Mercedes has taken an entirely new approach to the design of the Vision AVTR. The holistic concept combined the exterior and interior design principles of the first sketch. The design process started with the passenger experience and consciously focused on passenger perceptions and needs. The goal was to create a car that would extend passenger awareness. It was also a challenge to create an immersive experience space where passengers connect in a unique way with each other, the vehicle and the surrounding area.
Sustainable materials are used throughout the interior. Depending on the ambient light, the color of the fabric used changes from deep blue to a subtle light blue. This sheet is refined with vegan DINAMICA®, the first and only microfibre that guarantees environmental sustainability throughout the entire production cycle. It is composed of recycled materials made by recycling old clothes, flags, and plastic bottles. During production, attention is paid to low pollutant emissions and low energy consumption. Thanks to its versatility, maximum performance and high quality, DINAMICA® is suitable for use in luxury automotive interiors. It also guarantees seat occupant’s anti-slip function. The softness of the materials gives occupants a “welcome home” feeling.
The Vision AVTR features digital neurons that flow from the grille through the wheel to the rear. The first interaction between person and vehicle in the cabin is made completely intuitive via the controls. The interior comes to life when you put your hand on the center console and the car recognizes you by the sound of your breath. This allows the car to establish a biometric connection with the driver and increase awareness of its environment. Digital neurons visualize the flow of energy and information as they flow from inside to outside. When driving, for example, neurons flow outside the vehicle. When you change direction, energy flows in that direction of the vehicle.
When the lines between vehicles and living beings are blurred, Mercedes can create vehicles that combine luxury with sustainability and conserve resources as much as possible. With the Vision AVTR, the company is demonstrating how vehicles can harmoniously blend in and communicate with their environment. The ultimate luxury in the ecosystem of the future is the fusion of man and nature with the help of technology. Just as in the movie Avatar, humans were able to extend and expand their abilities by using avatars, the car becomes an extension of the body and a tool for discovering the environment the moment you get into the car.
Speaking of press releases, this expo from Mercedes is breathtaking. The crucial bit is a graphene-based battery with a much higher energy density than anything commercially available today. That’s something to look forward to. Whether or not people are gasping to own a car that recognizes their breath and integrates inside and outside remains to be seen what it’s all about.
The company’s press release originally used only masculine pronouns, which were removed while writing this article. Perhaps it involved translating the original text from German to English. But it seemed tone-deaf and didn’t seem to fit current norms. Clearly, Mercedes is interested in selling the cars of the future to women as well as men.
Certainly, the designers at Mercedes have pushed the boundaries to come up with the Vision AVTR concept. Will it play in Peoria? Are people ready for bionic flaps? Master Sun said. Check out the full concept reveal in the video below.
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