- apparently, mercedes-benz thinks the 2009 movie avatar is the right inspiration for ces in 2020.
- audi got to rule the marvel cinematic universe. now mercedes wants to drive all over avatar's fictional planet pandora, and the concept gets its sleek look from some of the creatures in the movie.
- even through this concept will never be for sale, the story it tells about cars being in balance with nature is the automaker's eventual goal.
the first—and so far only—avatar movie came out in 2009. the next one isn't supposed to arrive until december 2022. but the lack of a current movie tie-in didn't stop mercedes-benz from unveiling an all-electric concept car that draws inspiration from the fictional creatures that inhabit the planet pandora in the movie.
to be sure, the mercedes-benz vision avtr is a sleek beast. the rugged-looking, exaggerated wheels (which can light up in different colors) dominate the profile, wrapping around clear, oval-shaped glass for doors and windows in the middle. the result is a new version of mercedes's one bow design language, previously used in the vision eqs concept. mercedes worked with avatar director james cameron and his lightstorm entertainment company to create the concept car.
the avtr has an overall animalistic, living vibe. the fastback-ish rear is covered with 33 moving reptilian-scale panels. mercedes says they are supposed to mimic an animal extending its hair or fur. light strips flow through the whole vehicle, meant to remind the viewer of a neural network. the car is less a machine and more a living creature, said ola källenius, the chairman of the board of management of daimler ag and mercedes-benz ag, as he introduced the avtr (you pronounce the letters independently, and it stands for advanced vehicle transformation).
one of the ways the concept almost merges the human with the vehicle is through its biometric connection controls. there is no steering wheel, just a "multifunctional control element" that recognizes the person driving when they put their palm on it. your palm can also become a space for the car to reach out to you by projecting a menu that then responds to your hand movements.
even the way the car can move is different and animalistic: think crab. the front and rear axles can be rotated in the same or opposite directions, allowing the avtr to move sideways at up to an approximately 30-degree angle.
källenius said the concept is meant to stretch people's ideas of what a car can be far, far into the future. the mercedes-benz vision avtr, he explained, is meant to spark people's imagination, just as the best science-fiction movies do.
apart from the animal references, the concept is full of innovative ideas. there's a compostable 110-kilowatt-hour battery made using graphene-based organic cell chemistry that doesn't require any rare-earth minerals or metals. the interior is covered in sustainable materials such as vegan "leather" and quick-growing rattan. källenius said the vision avtr is meant to put technology and nature in balance and to show how it's possible for a vehicle to have zero negative impact on the planet.
"this may be in the distant future, but it is our goal nevertheless," he said.