Plasdcs play a very important role in vital areas of transportation technology by providing special design considerations, process freedom, novel opportunities, economy, aesthetics, durability, corrosion resistance, lightweight, fuel savings, recyclability, safety, and so on. Designs include lightweight and low cost principally injection molded thermoplastic car body to totally eliminate metal structure to support the body panels such as the concept in Fig. 4.50. Other processes include thermoforming and stamping. With more fuel-efficiency regulation new developments in lightweight vehicles is occurring with plastics. Plastics used include ABS, TPO, PC, PC/ABS, PVC, PVC/ABS, PUR, and RPs.

Different cars, worldwide have been designed and fabricated such as those that follow. (1) Chrysler's light-weight (50wt% reduction)

Composite Concept Vehicle (CCV) uses large injection molded glass fiber-TP structural body panels with only a limited amount of metal underneath/assembled by adhesive bonding or fusion welding. (2) Ford has plastic parts in its 2001 Explorer Sport Trac sport utility vehicle replaces the steel open cargo area with RP (SMC), and other cars. (3) Daimler-Benz's (Stuttgart, Germany) light-weight 2-seat coupe, called the Smart car, has injecdon molded outer body panels/unidzes TP body des together the front fender, outer door panels, front panels, rear valence panels, and wheel arch in one wraparound package. (4) GM focusing with plasdcs in their electric vehicle. (5) Asha/Taisun of Singapore producing taxi cabs for China with thermoformed body panels mounted on a tubular stainless steel space frame. NA Bus Industries of Phoenix is delivering buses in USA and Europe with all RP bodies. Brunswick Tech. Inc. of Brunswick, ME produces-weight30 ft RP buses except for the metallic engine. Sichuan Huatong Motors Group's (Chengdu, China) 4-door/5-passenger midsize vehicle all-plasdc car, called Paradigm, has glass fiber-TS polyester RP sandwich chassis and thermoformed coextruded ABS body panels/chassis features single thermoformed lower tub and an upper skeleton X-brace roof/monocoque structure where body panels are stitched-bonded to the chassis, forming a unitized structure.

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