The laws of physics being what they are, it takes more energy to move something heavy than something light. That's the first reason why this new process to maker stronger plastics discovered by a British consortium is interesting. It would allow to make lighter auto parts and thus boost fuel economy. But another aspect is interesting: Since this new plastic is very strong on its own, it won't need to be reinforced by glass composites or other materials - like what is currently done - making it more easily recyclable. "The prototype components have been developed as part of a 2 year research and development project, called RECYCLE, supported by the EPSRC and DTI, under the LINK Foresight Vehicle Programme, administered by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders." They didn't test their stuff on just any car either. A Lotus Elise was what they worked with, and the new parts were 57% lighter than the original ones. A big gain considering that engineers will often work hard or use more expensive materials to gain only a few percent (ie. Putting an aluminum hood on the Toyota Prius to help offset the weight of the batteries).
::UK Project Unlocks Door to Recyclable Automotive Panels, ::Green Car Congress, ::AutoBlog & thanks to reader Mark Winn for the tip!