Mercedes-Benz Debuts 'Avatar'-Inspired Electric Concept Car

This otherworldly EV has reptile-like scales, crab-like movement and a control unit that recognizes the driver's breathing and heartbeat.
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Mercedes-Benz  Vision AVTR  (8)

No Mercedes-Benz vehicles roamed the fantastical world of Pandora in director James Cameron's 2009 fantasy blockbuster Avatar, but if they did, they might look like the crazy concept car that the German marque just unveiled at CES 2020. 

Mercedes-Benz  Vision AVTR  (3)

The VISION AVTR's name is both a nod to the movie's title and an acronym for "Advanced Vehicle Transformation." Wild elements that imitate living creatures account for its most eye-catching features, like the rear's 33 reptile-like "bionic flaps" that "communicate with and through the driver with the outside world." It can also strafe sideways at a 30-degree angle in a "crab movement."

Mercedes-Benz  Vision AVTR  (7)

Inside is a totally unique interface. Instead of a conventional steering wheel, drivers place their hand on a "multifunctional control unit" that activates the vehicle by recognizing the their heartbeat and breathing. The interior's other features are more earthly, with seats upholstered in vegan DINAMICA leather and a floor made of Karruun, a wood that's made comes from prevalent Indonesian palm trees. 

For power, the VISION AVTR runs off a graphene-based organic battery instead of rare earth metals like lithium in an attempt to create an electric mobility platform that's totally independent of fossil resources. 

Mercedes-Benz  Vision AVTR  (5)

Speaking on the battery's high-energy density at the VISION AVTR's CES keynote presentation , Mercedes-Benz exec Markus Schafer said, "the technology also impresses with its exceptional fast charging capability via automated, conductive charging technology. This means that the battery will be fully recharging in less than 15 minutes. The innovative technology also allows maximum flexibility with regard to the construction space: With a local minimum of 94 mm, the battery adapts ideally to the shared space vehicle concept, thus maximizing the multifunctional interior."

Mercedes-Benz  Vision AVTR  (4)

"With a capacity of around 110 kWh, the VISION AVTR enables an electric range of more than 700 kilometers. By recuperating during roll-out and braking, the high-voltage battery can be recharged with a higher efficiency than established systems while driving and thus contributes to the high energy efficiency of the overall system," Schafer added. 

Hypebeast reports that Cameron himself presented at the keynote, saying  “My career trajectory is the living proof of the need for innovation. Whether it was the liquid metal guy in Terminator 2 or the intelligent water tentacle in The Abyss, those were literally things that were not possible the year before, that we willed into existence in order to tell this specific story. We have to constantly be looking ahead.”

Mercedes-Benz  Vision AVTR  (6)

Cameron also told CNET's Roadshow that there will be othercrazy vehicles cruising Pandora's land, water and skies in Avatar 2, which is slated for a 2021 release. 

"The vehicles, spacecraft, aircraft, ground vehicles, weapons, the hardware. I’m a total geek when it comes to that stuff,” Cameron said in an interview with CNET’s Roadshow. “We have a lot of cool vehicles for you."