Bionic components at Mercedes-Benz.

Inspired by nature

Bionic design.

March 05, 2024 – When it comes to lightweight construction, nature is still the best role model: from boxfishes to the Arctic tern – many animals have evolved optimal body shapes and other capabilities that enable them to travel their migratory routes with minimal expenditure of energy. Maximum efficiency was also the guiding principle behind the technology programme that produced the VISION EQXX – which is why parts of the chassis structure are based on natural shapes and bionic design principles. That means material is used only where load paths are absolutely necessary. That is why the bionic elements have constantly varying wall thicknesses and openings reminiscent of a skeleton.

Highly functional and compact – with less weight

BIONICAST light construction components such as the BIONEQXX rear floor, the extremely light BIONICAST bracket for the windshield wiper motor and the BIONICAST damper dome combine the utmost in functionality through lightweight construction and resource conservation. The innovative rear floor alone saves 15–20 per cent in weight and in material, too, as compared to equivalent conventional components. The wiper motor bracket also has a 20 per cent weight advantage.

Help from Hollywood

Although the innovative bodyshell components are inspired by nature, they were designed entirely by digital means in Sindelfingen using the BIONICAST process. Taking into account the loading requirements, installation space and other boundary conditions, a design model is created using innovative and interlinked software tools. This enables the designers to see at a glance where material can be saved. In this work, they use tools created by Hollywood fun factories, with digital sculpting and 3D modelling software originally used for renowned movie projects and sophisticated computer game designs now finding applications in the world of automotive engineering. The use of the BIONICAST process in future Mercedes-Benz vehicles is self-explanatory.

The most efficient Mercedes-Benz ever built

The result is impressive: along with many other efficiency-boosting measures, the bionic design of various components with the BIONICAST process has turned the VISION EQXX into the most efficient Mercedes-Benz ever built. The innovative development process of BIONICAST was also crowned with the 2022 Materialica Design + Technology Award in the ‘Best of Process’ category. The VISION EQXX serves as a blueprint, with which we have opened up new paths for boosting the efficiency of an electric vehicle. This will also benefit our future series-production cars.

Bionic parts already in series production

For Mercedes-Benz, this combination of excellent aerodynamics and a light-weight construction concept inspired by nature is by no means new: the Mercedes-Benz bionic car was premiered in Washington in June 2005. It was shaped like the boxfish, which despite its quaint appearance has a highly streamlined body shape. In addition, the first BIONICAST components have already found their way into series models: The EQS uses a BIONICAST component for the seatbelt retractor.

Goal for 2039

Mercedes-Benz Ambition 2039.
Mercedes-Benz Ambition 2039.

With innovative technologies and new digital processes like BIONICAST, we can take a further step towards our overarching objective of net carbon-neutrality along the entire value chain in our fleet of new vehicles in 2039. Regarding BIONICAST, this means reduced consumption of resources combined with light construction potential in our Mercedes-Benz vehicles.