by VR Sreeraman on  September 12, 2010 at 11:23 AM Lifestyle News
Get ready to see future car with "chameleon paint" which would change its colour according to the owner's mood or clothing on a particular day.

In fact, tomorrow's car could also have windscreens made from plastic instead of glass in an effort to reduce weight and save fuel, while buttons could be replaced by jelly-like plastics to improve the user experience inside the car.

The shift towards alternative materials for cars indicates how the industry is pushing boundaries to try new materials in an effort to reduce weight and, therefore, fuel use.

"Glass is so heavy. But the big problem with polycarbonates has always been in scratching," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Mazda's European design manager Peter Birtwhistle as saying.

However, he said that advancements in design and technology generally are pushing carmakers to consider alternative materials in the quest for lighter weight.

Lightweight, flexible and multi-function materials are the next step in futuristic car design, according to the senior Mazda designers.

Speaking at a recent design workshop in fashionable Milan, Italy, the designers highlighted the new materials being explored to reduce the weight of vehicles and make them more appealing to look at and touch.

When asked what he thought one of the biggest advances in car design would be over the next few years he said: "Developments in materials and the structure of materials where you can combine several components into one."

"Being more focused about how you build and structure the car will be crucial. If you have a door that has structure in it that's still good to look at, then you save money and weight," he added.

Birtwhistle also said there was a move towards bioplastics, which were made from plant products rather than oil.

"In the future many more customers ... want to be more aware of how much energy a product uses," he said.

He even suggested that onboard solar panels could also emerge as a popular technology.

Customisable cars is also something being looked at as electronics increasingly shape cars of the future.

Changeable colours are also something that could allow easy customising, in much the same way as a mobile phone cover can change the look of the phone.

"We imagine you could change the colour of your car depending on what you're wearing or what mood you're in. You could even scan the pattern of your shirt," said Birtwhistle.

In fact, lighter colours could help save on cooling in the cabin, thereby reducing energy consumption.

"Why not change the colour of the exterior paint so it goes white when it's hot [and sunny]?" he said.

Mazda is also looking at flexible seat material, which would allow cars to quickly convert storage space to seats, or vice versa.

Source: ANI

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