Toyota Goes for Bio-Plastic Interiors

While Ford may have gone for wheat straw in greening its vehicle interiors, Toyota Motors recently announced that it will be making its own special brand of bio-plastic, Bio-PET, the standard for its vehicle liner material and other interior surfaces.

The first model to get this interior eco-treatment will be the Lexus CT200h, due out after the start of the New Year. From there, Toyota plans to increase the number of vehicles featuring this new material–as well as the percentage of vehicle-interior area covered by it–and to roll out a model in 2011 featuring Bio-PET covering 80 percent of the vehicle interior.

Lexus CT 200h

image via Lexus

Bio-PET is part of category of materials known as Ecological Plastic, which is more carbon neutral than conventional petroleum-based plastics, meaning it can lessen CO2 emissions over the life-cycle of the car. (By using it, Toyota notes that it can also use less petroleum, an increasingly limited resource).

Toyota has been working with Ecological Plastics in automobiles since in 2003, when it became the first in the world to use a bio-plastic made from polyactic acid in the spare tire cover and floor mats of the Japanese-market Raum. Since then, it has used these plastics to cover 60 percent of the exposed surfaces of interior parts in the Sai hybrid sedan, which debuted in December of 2009.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • Toyota is really a pioneer in using bioplastics.
      I think this was the first car manufacturer using PLA in its vehicles.
      But bio – PET is not a real bioplastic. Bio – PET is a composition of 70% terephthalic acid and 30% of a monoethylene glycol substitute. Just this substitute derives from biomass – sugar cane.
      Consequently, this more or less a hybrid – (bio)plastic.