Toyota's new hybrid vehicle(Prius alpha), features automotive interiors made of DuPont™ Sorona® EP polymer, a high-performance, renewably sourced thermoplastic resin. Sorona® EP was selected for this precisely engineered, functional component for its heat resistance, durability and ability to maintain great appearance.
Developed in close collaboration with DuPont Kabushiki Kaisha (DKK), Toyota Motor Corporation, Kojima Press Industry Co., Ltd. and Howa Plastics Co., Ltd., the parts made from Sorona® EP polymers are used on the instrument-panel air-conditioning system outlet and contribute to the advanced interior design while also reducing the environmental footprint.
Tadayuki Koyama DuPont Performance Polymers (DPP) Account Manager for Toyota, credited the global DPP team's research and development collaborations, as well as support from technical, supply chain and operations for success in achieving the commercialization of this first automotive application of Sorona® EP polymers.
"Automakers are extremely interested in renewably sourced polymers that perform as well or better than their petroleum-based counterparts," said Marsha Craig, Global Business Manager for renewably sourced DPP products. "Adopted by a leading automaker such as Toyota is a significant milestone, as it supports the value of the product and is likely to encourage more automakers to follow suit."
Sorona® EP polymers contain between 20% and 37% renewably sourced material (by weight) derived from plant sugar. Working with Toyota, the team was able to confirm that performance and molding characteristics of Sorona® EP in this application are similar or better to petroleum-based high-performance PBT (polybutylene terephthalate). Sorona® EP also helps reduce both carbon dioxide emissions and the use of petrochemicals used to produce use the PBT that is typically used for conventional auto interior parts. Sorona® EP also offers lower warpage and improved surface appearance, compared to PBT, to help streamline the manufacturing process.