Automakers are aiming to make new cars greener all the way around, and that includes sourcing as many materials from sustainable sources as possible. The all-new 2015 Mazda Miata will use plant-based bioplastics in replace of standard petroleum-based plastics, adding a sustainable element to the all new flyweight roadster.
Though Mazda hasn’t said specifically what plants the bioplastic is derived from (Ford for example uses leftover tomato stems from Heinz for their bioplastics), it does claim the paintable material curbs petroleum use and thus carbon emissions. It also has the added benefit that it can be dyed, rather than painted, which results in both a better and greener colored finish.
More importantly though, the new “Mazda Biotechmaterial” is tough enough for both interior and exterior applications, an important distinction that makes it much more useful. To start off though, the plant-based plastics will be used for a select few interior applications on the 2016 Miata, which recent debuted with a lower curb weight, new chassis, and a focus on getting back to its roots as a fun and affordable roadster.
Mazda isn’t the first automaker to introduce sustainable plastics into their products. Ford has been a leader in sustainable materials, utilizing everything from soy-based seats to recycled soda bottles. Luxury automakers have made sustainable interior materials a very vogue thing to have as well, such as the bamboo trim in the BMW i3 or the reclaimed wood used in the Fisker Karma.
For automakers, going green is about much more than low emissions and high fuel economy.