Mercedes takes unique approach to eco-friendliness
What’s inside a Mercedes? You’d expect the average German luxury car to contain a high-tech mix of aluminum, titanium and carbon fibre.
And while you’ll find all these materials in there somewhere, you might be more surprised to find coconut matting, crushed olive stones and even sawdust.
But those materials are all there — and that has helped Mercedes-Benz win prestigious “green” accolades from the German standards agency TüV.
Rubberized coconut matting is used as seat padding in a number of models. This is a byproduct of the Brazilian coconut industry — and before Mercedes found a use for it, most of it was simply burned.
The crushed, carbonized olive stones are used as air filtration material inside the fuel tanks of M-B’s C- and S-Class models — greatly reducing fuel vapour smells when refuelling. Again, this was a waste product of the food industry.
Then there are Abaca fibres — from the stem of a banana-type plant grown in the Philippines. These fibres are used in the underfloor material of the company’s A- and B-Class cars.
Mercedes has created a demand for Filipino farmers to grow more of these plants — and as a result have safeguarded the habitat of a small, endangered mammal — and the world’s smallest primate — called the Tarsier.
Using these natural materials helps lower the environmental impact of manufacturing Mercedes vehicles, as does increased use of recycled plastics — 21.2 kg on average being used for underbody panelling and other less visible parts.
Which all goes to show there’s more to being a “green” automaker than just having low CO2 emissions.