Click above for a high-res image of the new Mazda2

The next time you open your door and get in your car, take note of the amount of plastic that makes up your vehicle. Chances are, if it was made in the last fifty years at least, that there is a bunch of plastic there. And, the future only promises ever-increasing use of the easily-molded and relatively cheap bits. There are a few problems, though, which will need to be addressed as we move forward. Synthetics and "bioplastics" do already exist, but the vast majority of the plastic used in our cars uses a petroleum base. As you surely know, automakers are doing what they can to reduce the use of petroleum in their cars, and Mazda is no exception. The Japanese automaker has created a new process that cuts the use of petroleum-based resin by 20 to 30 percent and reduces the overall weight of each part.

Mazda is also working hard on other eco-friendly tech, such as stop/start. The automaker claims that its implementation of the technology can start the engine is half as much time as its competitors and reduces fuel consumption by nine percent. Diesels are also on the menu for Mazda, and its 2.2-liter common-rail turbo unit with 182-horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque should be available in Europe along with stop/start sometime next year.

Related Gallery2008 Mazda2

[Source: Wards]