Mercedes EQS and EQE: Recycling is the new luxury

The definition of automotive luxury is changing with the zeitgeist: until recently, the highest quality leather was considered the ultimate in interior design, but now sustainability is the order of the day. the study Mercedes Vision EQXX takes this fact into account with the new material UBQ, which is obtained from unsorted household waste such as leftover food, mixed plastics, cardboard and baby diapers.

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Mercedes uses the plastic substitute in the technically closely related EQS and EQE series for the production of cable ducts. However, the possible uses of the new material are far from exhausted. The engineers of the Swabian car manufacturer are currently testing the possibility of using UBQ in the production of underbody panels, wheel arch panels and engine compartment covers.

Sustainability as a basis for development

The Swabian automobile manufacturer is thus taking a significant step towards recycling. Because this waste is usually incinerated or ends up in the dustbin. “Sustainability is the basis of all research and development activities at Mercedes-Benz. Our goal is technological leadership in environmental engineering by achieving more with less,” explains Head of Development Markus Schäfer.
Mercedes-Benz conserves resources and uses sustainable materials

Instead of ending up in the incinerator, waste can also be turned into high-quality interior materials.

The premise of sustainability runs through all areas of the vehicle. Materials with a high proportion of recycled material are used in the interior, and the leather is sustainably produced and processed. This starts with animal husbandry and ends with more environmentally friendly tanning, in which only vegetable or alternative sustainable substances that are chromium-free are used. These include dried coffee bean shells, chestnuts or extracts from renewable raw materials.

Leather alternative made from plant fibers

In the future, Mercedes interiors will be free of natural leather: in the Vision EQXX concept study, alternative leathers made from renewable raw materials such as powdered cactus fibers are already being used. Research is already breaking new ground and using biotechnology: In the laboratory, fungal mycelia grow into leather alternatives.

Mercedes-Benz conserves resources and uses sustainable materials

This cactus no longer stings: In the future, seat covers will be made from renewable raw materials.

Chemical recycling also plays an important role, in which old tires and plastic waste that is difficult to recycle are broken down into their chemical components in order to produce new materials. The combination of raw materials from chemical recycling with the renewable raw material biomethane reduces the use of fossil resources.

Mercedes wants to be CO2-neutral by 2039

The overarching goal of the Swabian car manufacturer is to have a fleet of new passenger cars and vans that is CO2-neutral across the entire value chain and life cycle on the road as early as 2039 – eleven years earlier than required by EU legislation.

Mercedes AMG SL 43

Resource-saving roadster: Structures of the new Mercedes-AMG SL consist of up to 100 percent recycled aluminium.

That is why Mercedes is already reducing carbon dioxide emissions during the production of the vehicles and wants to use steel in various vehicle models from 2025, which is almost completely CO2-free due to the production with hydrogen instead of coking coal. To ensure that this project works, the Swabians have invested in the Swedish start-up H2 Green Steel (H2GS) and have entered into a partnership with the Swedish steel manufacturer SSAB.

Recycled aluminum against CO2 emissions

The technicians are pursuing the same goal when using aluminium: in the body shell of the Mercedes-AMG SL, structural cast components made from die-cast alloys made from up to 100 percent recycled aluminum scrap are used for the first time. In this way, CO2 emissions can be reduced by more than 90 percent during aluminum production.

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