Tim O'Brien | Oct 20, 2011

Toyota, who has long been experimenting with the use of bio-plastics in vehicle production, is now using a newly developed bio-plastic derived from sugar cane in its Japanese-market Sai Hybrid Sedan.

Originally released with 60 percent of its exposed interior surfaces made from bio-plastics, the new model, to be released on November 1, will have no less than 80 percent of its interior exposed surfaces - including seats - made from the new sugar-based bio-material.

The new bio-plastic is employed in high-use areas such as the seat trim and carpets. Toyota testing confirms that it matches petroleum-derived plastics for durability and cost, while outperforming other bio-plastics for heat-resistance, durability and shrink-resistance.

Toyota developed its bio-polyethylene terephthalate (bio-PET) by replacing monoethylene glycol (commonly used in PET manufacture) with a biological raw material derived from sugar cane.

It may not be commonly known, but the manufacture of the Lexus CT200h achieved a world-first when bio-PET ecological plastic (derived from plants) was employed in its boot lining.

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