While all motor manufacturers are working overtime to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions across their respective model ranges, some are pushing a little further to reduce their overall carbon footprint in the manufacturing process.
Mazda Motor Corporation has announced that, in conjunction with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, it has developed a new bio-based engineering plastic that can be used for exterior design parts for automobiles. Derived from plant materials, the new plastic will help Mazda reduce its impact on the environment in a number of important ways, key being that it forgoes the traditional paint process and associated harmful organic compounds.
Through a dye process Mazda is able to produce the plastic to high gloss quality, and durable enough to even suit exterior parts such as bumpers and door mirrors.
â€œMazda has been proactively developing technologies in the biomass field for a number of years. To date, under the “Mazda Biotechmaterial” name, the company has succeeded in developing the automotive industry’s first high-strength heat-resistant plant-derived bioplastic for auto interior parts, and the world’s first biofabric for vehicle seat upholstery made entirely from plant-derived fibre. However, to be suitable for exterior parts, plastics are required to possess not only a high quality finish, but also excellent weather, scratch and impact resistance in order to stand up to harsh environmental factors to which they are exposed. Achieving this combination of characteristics with bioplastics has posed a technical challenge.â€ reads the press release.
This bio-based engineering plastic will be used for the first time for interior parts for the all-new Mazda MX-5 which will be launched in South Africa in the latter part of 2015.