Mercedes shows car with compostable battery at CES


At the CES, Mercedes-Benz is presenting the Vision Avtr, a fully electrically powered concept car that not only has a futuristic design but also features visionary battery technology.

According to the company, the 110-kWh battery with graphene-based organic cell chemistry is free of rare earths and metals. The battery’s materials are compostable and thus completely recyclable, according to Daimler. In addition, this battery technology is said to have a high energy density of 1,200 Wh/litre and also to have an “extraordinary fast charging capability”. According to the press release, the battery should be fully charged in less than 15 minutes.

In addition, the technology should also offer developers a certain degree of flexibility in terms of installation space. In some places, the battery is to be only 94 millimetres high, allowing the interior of the vehicle to be designed more freely – so far, it has mostly been designed around the battery housing.

“The real potential of this technology currently lies in basic research,” the German company writes, without revealing further information on the chemical make-up of the battery, meaning the technology used can only be speculated about. In December, for example, IBM Research reported on cobalt- and nickel-free battery chemistry, the materials of which can be obtained from seawater, among other sources. However, no precise details were given on the materials used. One of the partners for the further development of the IBM battery to series production readiness: Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America.

The Stuttgart-based vehicle manufacturer specifies a range of 700 kilometres for the Vision Avtr. This should be made possible with the car’s 110 kWh of power, but also because of the high efficiency of the recuperation. In addition, the efficiency of the secondary consumers will also be in focus in the completely digitalised show car. The “biometric-inspired approach” of the Vision Avtr promises to minimise the energy requirement of sensors, chips and other components “to a few watts”. The show car has integrated solar panels in the body for their energy supply.

On paper, the 350 kW electric drive with four electric motors close to the wheels seems much less futuristic than the compostable battery. With a new control system and the striking wheels of the show car, the Vision Avtr should also be able to move sideways by around 30 degrees in a kind of crabwalk.

The appearance of the prototype is also striking. The design was inspired in some elements by nature, but also by Hollywood. The name Avtr references the blockbuster film Avatar, and Daimler worked with the team around director James Cameron on the concept car. The team is currently working on a sequel to Avatar, which is scheduled to be released in 2021. The transparent doors, the flowing design with many arches, and the operating concept, among other things, are all attributable to the Hollywood inspiration. Among other things, the car is supposed to recognize the breathing and pulse of its occupants and adapt to them. In addition, an interface is projected onto the palm of the hand via which the passengers are to interact intuitively with the system.

Even if it sounds a lot like ideas and dreams of the future: we are very excited about the further development of the battery concept!


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