« Powerisers jumping stilts | Main | Sweet Spirit sugar dispenser »

09. 26. 2006

The story behind the Mercedes Boxfish

mercedesboxfish.jpg

Bill Sharfman from The Scientist has a great subscription piece covering the design story behind last year's Mercedes-Benz Bionic concept car; and hopefully this reawakening of interest is a sign that we're going to see it on car lots in the upcoming year. Ten years ago, engineers from the Mercedes R&D department were searching for a natural shape that would make a good car. They toured a large fish collection at the Rosenstein Museum and discovered a cute little tropical fish that lives in coral reefs. The boxfish tuned out to be the perfect shape for a four seater compact car.

An anatomically correct model of a female boxfish has a drag coefficient of .06; the Bionic car prototype weighed in at 0.19. This may sound like a large loss of efficiency, but my Mercedes E320 has a drag coefficient of 0.29, and at the time was considered to be an amazing feat of engineering. To reduce drag, door handles were motorized to pop out of the door on demand, and the rear view mirrors were shaved off the side in favor of cameras and monitors. By starting from shapes in nature with good aerodynamics, the concept engineers were able to avoid reinventing the wheel and able to concentrate on fitting it with modern technology under the hood.

The goal of the Bionic concept was to produce an ultra aerodynamic car that would offer fuel efficiency and low emissions. The prototype ran at seventy miles per gallon for city driving, and eighty-four mpg on the highway. By maximizing the utility of the combustion process within the engine. the resulting emissions are actually more polluting than previous technology. Though, by treating the pollutants before they leave the tailpipe, the overall system is better for the environment. This Selective Catalytic Reduction system applies a liquid solution of urea from AdBlue to the emissions. Precise timing is used to spray small amounts of the reactant into the tailpipes to breakdown nasty nitrogen oxide into harmless water and nitrogen.

Good looks, neat techie features, fuel efficiency, and low emissions? Hey Mercedes, cowboy up and get the boxfish on the lot!

Posted by Johnny    Category: cars
Tags:
Email this | Comments (0)
Add to: Yahoo Add to: Google Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Technorati


Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Back to Top

 





 
swf_ad2.gif


Best of Popgadget
10.21.2010

We're back!! And where we've been...

Hello! It's been a while, and I'm so happy to say, we are going to be back and better than ever. We will be changing just a little bit- bringing you more frequently updated content, in a somewhat abbreviated...
Read More
Popgadget Recent Comments
Popgadget Steals & Deals
Mom Wants Gadgets for Mother's Day
Trade-in Your Old Electronics
Popgadget Giveaway from American Express! My Life on Points
6-Foot HDMI cable at $3.19 includes shipping
Sony offers some exciting deals for Mother's Day
Unlocked iPhone! Only $599. Or $699.
Got four friends? Take a Peek at this great offer
Green Tech: Eco-fashions priced to move
31 ways to save money on technology from PCWorld
Popgadget Random Images

Where is this image from?
See more random images
On This Day
Take a little stroll down memory lane. See what Popgadget was writing about on this day in 2012 2009 2008 2007 2006 2004