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Researchers developing strong material for vehicles using wood pulp

Japanese researchers are developing a strong material using wood pulp to replace steel parts in cars within the next 10 years.

The team from Kyoto University in Japan believe this new material is just as strong as steel but is 80% lighter, improving fuel efficiency.

Paolo Martino, principal automotive components analyst at IHS Markit, told the BBC: "There is a rush to try and cut as much weight as possible, especially on cars which will pollute more, like SUVs [sports utility vehicles] or pick-up trucks."

It is thought the new material could be used for electric vehicles so they will use less power and last longer on the road before needing to be recharged.

It comes after Toyota, Mazda and Denso announced they had teamed up and signed a joint technology development contract for electric vehicles.

They said: "With EVs yet to find widespread market acceptance, the huge investments and time required to cover all markets and vehicle segments is a pressing issue for individual automakers when responding to the widely varying demand for vehicles around the world.

"Mazda, Denso, and Toyota have decided to jointly develop basic structural technologies for EVs capable of covering a wide variety of vehicle segments and types to ensure flexible and rapid response to market trends.

"This agreement covers a diverse range of models, from minivehicles to passenger vehicles, SUVs, and light trucks, and aims to innovate the development process by combining the strengths of each company, including Mazda's bundled product planning and prowess in computer modeling-based development, Denso's electronics technologies, and the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform."

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