The Mercedes-Benz Bionic Concept Vehicle is a design
exercise that examines the potential of using bionics, the marriage of biology and technology, to create better automobiles. Daimler-Chrysler's designers and engineers scoured nature for the best organism on which to base their vehicle and came up with the boxfish. Let's see the boys in marketing try to pitch that one. The boxfish, however, provided many ideas that were incorporated into the concept vehicle to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, reduce weight and increase structural rigidity.
Aping the shape of the boxfish allowed designers to achieve a superlow Cd of .19 and the vehicle's ultra-efficient 140-hp 2.0L turbodiesel achieves about 70 mpg. Emissions are also significantly reduced thanks to a technology called Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) that squirts "AdBlue", an aqueous urea solution, into the exhaust system to convert nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water. Engineers also learned a lot from the boxfish's bony exoskeleton, which uses a minimum amount of material to create an incredible amount of strength. Due to the car's similar structural design, weight is said to be reduced by one-third while maintaining the same strength and crash safety standards as today's automobiles
Rumor has it that Daimler-Chrysler decided to embark on this project after learning Subaru's new B9 Tribeca was inspired by a manatee.