TechThought: Silver Lightning Concept Car

Back in 1932, Mercedes Benz had came out with their Motor and Formula One racing car, The Silver Arrow. The Silver Arrow was very successful, and the most popular car for german racers in the 1930s. The trademark white for Germany decorating the car, the Silver Arrow won many competitions. It even won the French Grand Prix 1-2-3. This type of car was a source of pride to the company and country, and it only made sense to preserve it’s greatness.


The Silver Arrow


79 years later, at the 2011 LA Design Challenge, Mercedes Benz were showing off their concept car, Silver Lighting. Silver Lightning, as you may have guessed, was inspired by Silver Arrow, reintroducing the pride of Mercedes prowess in the racing sport.

As part of their presentation, they made a short film about the car:

Silver Lightning was not only inspired by Silver Arrow, it was also inspired by classic sci-fi movies, as is a lot of technology today. Think about it. The flip-up communicators from Star Trek. In the Silver Lighning’s case, the futuristic lights on the wheels were inspired by Tron: Legacy, and the shape was inspired by Star Wars: Episode II.

Silver Lightning is still not coming out any time soon. It uses a lot of future technologies, like Mag-Tech. Mag-Tech is a retractable roof system, a lot like nowadays convertible roofs. But instead of having to take the whole roof off, Mag-Tech would make it easier. Mag-Tech uses small lightweight magnetic squares. They can be quickly put together to make a roof, or easily contracted to make a convertible.

When you look at Silver Lightning, you may be wondering, “Where are the wheels? All I see are rings where the wheels should be!” Those rings ARE actually the wheels, which is another future technology that might postpone the release of Silver Lightning. The technology is called Omni-Directional Wheels. Inside the rings, there are rollers that are all placed in a different direction, making the car able to move in all directions. The way they will actually manufacture it (if they even do) has not been released and is very vague, but I think of it like there are a lot of semi-individual, stabilized football-like rollers inside the rings. They would have to be able to turn inside the rings, and be somewhat grippy to be able to actually move.

Silver Lightning is designed for speed. The sleek design is perfect for zooming down the freeway or track. But just like Lamborghinis and Maseratis, it will probably become a fancy sports car that like to show off. But for now, it is still a futuristic concept, yet to be built.

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  1. I looks amazing, but I don’t get the wheels at all! Is there something underneath that is rotating? The wheel frame doesn’t look like it moves. If you hit any type of bump, wouldn’t the frame of the wheels get destroyed?

    • Yes, inside the rings, the rollers that I talked about are the things that are spinning. But yeah, I guess that their hoping that in the future all the roads will be perfectly smooth.

  2. i didn’t understand how it will turn, is the wheel made from separate rollers i don’t get how they work , please explain ))

    • Inside the wheel ring, the “rollers” would be slightly turning. I think of the rollers as individual football-like ovals, that are connected somehow. They would also have to be somewhat grippy to get traction on the ground. I am not quite sure, and again, it is just a concept. Sorry for taking so long to answer.

      • I think I figured out the turning, I am guessing the wheel on one side would turn faster than the opposite side, therefore making it turn.

    • Those omni-directional wheels already exist. They’re designed so that they can turn in opposing directions without being worn out to quickly. For example, say that the front wheels turn forward, and the back wheels turn backward. Then the car will move to the right. (Or left, depending on the orientation of the rollers)

  3. Since the wheela are like stuck to the car it might not be able to drift. Also what type of engine is it and where is it

    • I’m no car expert, but I think the engine would be placed in the hood like any other car. The type of engine wasn’t released, mostly because the car is just for show.

    • My guess is that they work the same as the back wheels, with little rollers inside the ring. It is a little hard to imagine, and it is just a concept, so I doubt that they will ever make the car since it has so many future technologies. The car they built for the show probably worked like a regular car.

    • 1. That would most likely cost a LOT of money.
      2. I don’t really have the time (or knowledge of machinery) to do so.

    • Unfortunately, they aren’t selling it currently, but if you contact them they might sell it to you for a really really high price. But probably not.

  4. So for now they would probably go with the normal rubberized tires. If I were building it with today’s tech, I would cut out the bottom of the wheel hub where it meets the road, and would have a covered wheel with some type of axle system that could allow for turning motion. As you said, FFtech. This won’t be coming out anytime soon enough for all of us reading this article. .