Toyota announced today that it has begun to use rubber engine hoses made from plants. The new material is about 20% lower in carbon footprint than the petroleum-based conventional hoses widely in use now. Called biohydrin rubber, the new material is manufactured using plant-derived bio-materials instead of epichlorohydrin, a commonly-used epoxy compound. This is not a small test trial. That is already done. Toyota is starting to use the new material on production vehicles made in it Japanese plants in May, and it plans to use the material on all vehicles made in its domestic (Japanese) plants by the end of this year.
The first parts to be manufactured using this material will be vacuum hoses. The biohydrin rubber provides the levels of oil resistance, heat resistance, and durability required for vacuum sensing hoses in engines and drive systems, according to Toyota.
Following the vacuum hoses, Toyota plans to substitute the new material in brake hoses and fuel lines. The material was co-developed by Toyota, Zeon Corporation, and Sumitomo Riko Co., Ltd.
In addition to being the world’s largest producer of green vehicles such as the new 2016 Prius and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the two most successful green vehicles in the world, Toyota was also recently named an Energy Star Partner by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. On Time Magazines list of green companies in 2015 Toyota ranked significantly higher than EV makers like Tesla Motors.