The Lexus CT200h small luxury hybrid will be the first car outfitted with Ecological Plastic.
With the debut of the Prius, Toyota quickly made a name for itself as a leader in the hybrid vehicle market. Now, the Japanese auto maker is moving beyond alternative fuels to include sustainable materials in its car designs as well.
Starting with its 2011 Lexus luxury-sport hybrid, the company is planning to make the interiors of its cars from a sugarcane based material in an effort to reduce petroleum consumption.
Toyota Tsusho Corp. developed the material in collaboration with Toyota City-based Toyota. The bio-PET, coined Ecological Plastic, offers improved performance in heat resistance and durability compared to other bio-based resins and can compete with standard PET, the company said in an Oct. 13 news release.
The new material consists of 70 per cent terephthalic acid and 30 per cent monoethylene glycol made from sugar cane. Its first use will be in the Lexus CT200h's luggage compartment liner. In the future the material may also be used in both seats and carpeting in addition to standard plastic parts.
Toyota already uses a material derived from corn for floor mats in some of its vehicles, and claims that later next year it will introduce a model in which the ecological plastic will cover 80 percent of the vehicle interior.