It sounds sweet, it does. Toyota has developed a new Ecological Plastic for use in its vehicle interiors, with a raw material in it derived from sugar cane. The plastic is the first in the world to be made using bio-PET, and the company says the new development is tougher, harder wearing and more shrink resistant than previous bio-plastics.
Bio-plastics aren’t exactly new, nor is Ecological Plastic – the company developed a bio-plastic made with polyactic acid seven years ago which was used in the Raum, and it introduced Ecological Plastic last year, in which injection moulded material derived from plants are used in scuff plates, trim elements and seat cushions in the current Prius.
The bio-PET featuring in the latest Eco Plastic incarnation, developed by Toyota and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, has a biological raw material derived from sugar cane replacing the 30% monethylene glycol element in polyethylene terephthalate, to give PET its full name.
Toyota says the new plastic’s qualities make it suitable for use for vehicle liners, carpeting, seats and other interior surfaces, with the first application in a production model being the luggage compartment liner in the new Lexus CT 200h. In 2011, it plans to introduce a model in which the new plastic will cover 80% of the vehicle’s interior.