The Plastics Market Watch Report, released by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), highlights an increased demand for plastics in a number of modes of transportation—including automobiles, trucks, boats, trains, planes and more around the world. According to the report, the recent trends in innovative transportation include: propulsion/electric vehicles (EV), autonomous or self-driving vehicles, connected vehicles and shared transportation. These overarching trends are interconnected by technology, investments and industry leaders.
The report indicates experts are calling plastics one of the biggest breakthroughs in innovation since the Ford Model T, having a more significant impact on society due to its dynamic capabilities of transforming cities and disrupting the movement of goods.
“Due to current trends, we expect for plastics to become a solidified material in transportation vehicles and other technologies,” said PLASTICS’ Chief Economist, Perc Pineda, PhD. “Engineers and designers use plastic for vehicle materials because of its weatherability and moisture repellence, safety advances, improved comfort and other properties – many of which are in the research and development stages. Considering that demand for transportation is not going away anytime soon, plastics will remain a viable material in the transportation space,” Pineda added. The report highlights insights from industry innovators and thought leaders from companies including GM, Tesla and Audi.
Plastics’ role in the automotive and transportation sector has been growing for years, which was why PLASTICS created the Transportation and Industrial Plastics (TIP) committee in 2015,” said PLASTICS’ Interim President and CEO Patty Long. “TIP has grown in membership and in stature to include some of the most important voices in this increasingly important sector for the plastics industry. Its contributions were vital to creating this most-recent Plastics Market Watch report, which shows the sky continues to be the limit for plastics in transportation.”
Since 1970, the use of plastics in aviation has quadrupled which makes the airline industry a key market for plastic. Nylon will also play an important role with the electrification of vehicles because it is strong, lightweight, very durable and resistant to damage. It contributes to reducing the weight of a vehicle by 50 percent. “The flexibility of plastics in terms of performance, design, weight and costs could be an advantage as electric vehicles increase market share,” said PLASTICS’ vice president of industry affairs and manager of TIP Kendra Martin. “Plastics currently available meet the specifications of electric motors and it will be interesting to see new polymers come forth as EV technology takes hold.”