Daimler’s concept car uses bio-based materials and has solar technology on the roof

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Daimler Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX concept car unveiled.

Courtesy of Daimler

Daimler has released details of an electric vehicle concept that uses solar technology and bio-based materials, with the German auto giant claiming it has a range of over 1,000 kilometers (about 621 miles) on a single charge.

the Vision EQXX has 117 solar cells on the roof – the idea is that they can help increase the range of the car – while the interior of the vehicle incorporates materials including a leather alternative called Mylo.

Mylo is produced from mycelium, which Daimler described as “the underground root-like structure of fungi.”

Daimler Mercedes-Benz The Vision EQXX

Courtesy of Daimler

“It’s certified organic, which means it’s made primarily from renewable ingredients found in nature,” Daimler said. Other materials used in the car include a “cactus-based biomaterial” called Deserttex and bamboo fiber rugs.

In a statement on Monday, Markus Schafer, Daimler’s chief technology officer responsible for development and purchasing, said the technology program behind the concept vehicle “will define and enable future Mercedes-Benz models and features.”

Schafer had details previously announced of the vehicle’s lineup in a LinkedIn post late last year. On Monday, Daimler said the range figures were “preliminary and based on numerical simulations under real traffic conditions.”

If an electric vehicle was able to travel over 621 miles on a single charge in real conditions, it would help allay concerns about range anxiety. The term refers to the idea that electric vehicles are not able to take long journeys without losing power and running aground.

Daimler Mercedes-Benz The Vision EQXX

Courtesy of Daimler

As technology evolves, the range of electric vehicles begins to expand. Tesla claims its Model S Plaid has an estimated range of 396 miles, while Lucid said the Lucid Air Dream Edition range has “an official EPA rating of 520 miles of range.”

Learn more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

The Vision EQXX represents the latest example of how automakers are looking to use different materials in their vehicles.

In September, Volvo Cars announced that it wanted all models it sells to be leatherless by 2030. The Swedish company also said it wanted a quarter of the material used in its new cars “to be made up of recycled and biobased content ”in 2025.

In 2019, Elon Musk’s Tesla declared that the interior of his Model 3 was “100% leather-free.” Elsewhere, Porsche – a brand owned by the Volkswagen Group – is offering customers a leather-less option for the all-electric Taycan’s interior.

Securing supply

In an interview with CNBC’s Annette Weisbach aired Tuesday, Daimler’s Schafer sought to paint a picture of how supply chains will evolve in the coming years as technologies develop.

“If you look at this car here [the Vision EQXX], what does the new car need? It needs software, it needs chips, and it needs a battery. “

“And a lot of these items are new items… they weren’t needed in the past, so the purchasing team, the logistics teams need a new direction,” he said.

“So we are entering the supply chain a lot more than in the past, looking at raw materials for [the] battery, looking at semiconductors, where they are produced.

He was also asked whether Europe should do more to produce and secure the raw materials and semiconductors needed by the auto industry, as well as others.

“Yes, I think Europe should absolutely do this,” he said. “Right now we depend on other parts of the world a lot and we should… change that.”

“So we need to focus our investments in Europe on semiconductor production, we need to look at raw materials for battery cells.”

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