June 20, 2007
Dear CNET members,
I remember my dad's good ol' 1975 Dodge Dart, constructed mostly of steel--and when I say "steel," I mean thick, quarter-inch panels and heavy-duty chrome bumpers. It sure made you feel safe inside--so when it took a beating, it took it like a champ! Most of today's midsize cars have plastic bumpers and the overall steel paneling has been reduced to tin-can thickness. Still, with technology advancements, today's cars are safer than yesterday's. In the latest Driving It column, Senior Editor Wayne Cunningham points out that more and more cars of the future will be constructed of more plastic than metal. And there are many benefits of plastic, which range from less weight for better fuel efficiency to less waste because the plastic parts are made of recycled material, to address the rising cost of steel. While Wayne does point out that steel safety cages and airbags will be there to keep occupants safe, people who are currently discussing this topic have other thoughts on their minds when cars are made mostly of plastic. But before you jump into the heated discussion, read Wayne's column and read other members' opinions about the whole shift toward more plastic-constructed cars. And when you're revved up and ready to shift gears, tell us what you think are the pros and cons of plastic cars. And more important, would you buy a car with a plastic body?
As a reminder, don't forget that tomorrow, Thursday, June 21 from 11 a.m. to noon PT, CNET Senior Editor David Katzmaier will be hosting the Ask the Editor Live! chat event, where he will answering your HDTV questions. Join us right here.
This week's hot topic:
Hot Topic goes here
In the latest Driving It column, CNET editor Wayne Cunningham writes about the increasing use of plastics in car construction. When we asked our members what they think are the pros and cons of plastic cars, many sped by to tell us.
"What do we know?"
"Things I would like to know: are these plastics volatile (still giving off carcinogenic vapors)? What risks will public-safety personnel face when the hydrogen powering these cars bursts into flames? Do these plastics become brittle after 15 years of exposure to sun in..." (Read more)
--Submitted by: CNET member phrelin"What are the pros and cons of plastic cars?"
"So plastic bodies are lighter and save fuel, but what's the net effect of using petroleum to make those plastics compared with how much is saved in the form of fuel? It could be robbing Peter to pay Paul. There's also the pollution factor of making plastic vs. making steel..." (Read more)
--Submitted by: CNET member siriusproductions"But it is the material!!"
"Come on people! What are ya thinking?! You want to tell me it isn't plastic vs. metal, that somehow 'it's the quality' that makes a difference? Bull! I roll around in an '82 Buick Riviera. It's a small, civilian, legal tank. I've been hit twice. Both times, there was..." (Read more)
--Submitted by: CNET member Andy77e"Plastic Trucks"
"The idea of plastic cars is ideal in most every way. Reusable or recyclable panels. Nondinging and nondenting in the everyday world. No rust and always looks new compared to the tuna-can body panels on today's vehicles. It just makes plain, good sense. So how about..." (Read more)
--Submitted by: CNET member Kurt SalduttiSpeak up!
Now it's time for you to tell us what you think are the pros and cons of plastic cars. While plastic-constructed cars will be greener overall, do you think safety will be compromised? Or will today's technology prevail, offering a greener car that's also safer? Will you buy a car in which the body is constructed mostly of plastic? Speak up and share your opinions!
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