When developing transport solutions, designers strive to find the ideal balance between high material performance, competitive pricing, style, comfort, safety, fuel efficiency and minimal environmental impact. The sustainable solution is reflected by an optimal balance of all these parameters and requirements.
Innovative plastics are a key contributor, because:
- Plastic components weigh 50 percent less than similar components made from other materials, which means a 25 to 35% improvement in fuel economy.
- For every kilogram lost, your car will emit 20 kilograms less of carbon dioxide over its operating life.
- Plastics offer lightweight solutions that fulfil essential safety requirements such as fire safety.
Airplanes are a good example of how plastics and design innovation are connected in a highly modern and material challenged application. Since the 70s, the use of plastics in airplanes has grown from 4 to around 50%.
In the automotive industry, plastics allow for energy absorption, weight reduction and innovative design, while contributing to passenger safety. Features such as shock absorption for bumpers, suppression of explosion risks in fuel tanks, seat belts, airbags and other life-saving accessories such as durable plastic safety seats to protect young passengers make plastics the safest material for automotive applications.
Plastics are also in the vanguard of sustainable innovation, with the average car containing 120 kilograms of plastics (around 15% of its total weight). Modern concept cars are a perfect example of how innovation made possible with plastics also brings environmental benefits. The car features a range of high-quality thermoplastics that bring design flexibility, but more importantly, the light weight of these plastics means that the car uses an average of 3.3 litres of fuel every 100km and emits only 86g of CO2 per kilometre!
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