Glass is currently the material of choice for automobile windows, but it could be replaced in the recent future. More manufacturers are turning to high-strength plastic for their automobiles, as the material is significantly lighter and can reduce the total materials needed in the production process.
"The technology is now at a point where it is ready for mass-scale production," V. Umamaheswaran, a director for SABIC's Innovative Plastics, told The Detroit News. "It's not just weight savings, it's hugely the styling implications and aerodynamics."
Polycarbonate has been used in race cars for some time, but only recently made the move to regular roadways thanks to models like the 2014 Fiat 500L, Porsche 911 GT3 and Audi R8 GT. When each ounce of the weight affects fuel-efficiency, performance and potentially car repair, the move to the lighter material could have some positive implications for drivers.
The major concern surrounding plastic windows is that the material won't shatter, so passengers in the car could potentially face serious injury in the event of an accident. It could also complicate things during an emergency rescue or escape, The Christian Science Monitor reports.