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Roadmap to Create Lighter Vehicles Released

ACCvThe American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division released an updated roadmap to help automakers and their suppliers enhance fuel efficiency in vehicles by using more plastics and composites to reduce vehicle weight.

Plastics and polymer composites offer extraordinary opportunities for lightweighting, according to the ACC. Plastic carbon-fiber-reinforced composites are 50 percent lighter than conventional steel and 30 percent lighter than aluminum. Plastics already provide exceptional strength-to-weight ratios in addition to design flexibility, it adds. Wide-scale adoption of plastics and polymer composites will be critical to helping auto makers meet the new corporate average fuel economy (CAFÉ) standards, it adds.

The new roadmap, Plastics and Polymer Composites Technology Roadmap for Automotive Markets, calls for a series of industry-wide, collaborative demonstration projects to generate data, establish predictive models and develop specifications that will improve the manufacturing and assemblage of new high-performance parts.

To develop the latest roadmap, ACC’s Plastics Division, which represents leading US makers of plastics, and polymer composite elements, worked with the automotive industry, research community, and federal regulatory agencies. The latest roadmap reflects significant changes in the automotive marketplace and regulatory environment since the first roadmap was published in 2001.

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