Thursday, February 26, 2009

Toyota's Kelp Car - Toyota Wants to Build Car From Seaweed

Toyota is looking to a greener future — literally — with dreams of an ultralight, superefficient plug-in hybrid with a bioplastic body made of seaweed that could be in showrooms within 15 years. -
clipped from

A kelp car is not as far-fetched as it might sound. Bioplastics are
being used for everything from gift cards to cellphone cases. Demand
for the stuff is expected to hit 50 billion pounds annually within five
years, a figure that would account for 10 percent of the world market
for plastic, according to USA Today. A company called NatureWorks claims
the production of its bioplastic Inego produces 60 percent less carbon
dioxide than petroleum-based plastic and requires 30 percent less
energy. And Oakridge National Laboratory has explored the possibility
of producing carbon fiber from wood pulp.

The 1/X has been kicking around the show circuit for more than a year, and the photo is from its North American debut at the 2008 Chicago auto show. It features a tiny 500cc engine and weighs about one-third as much as the Prius while offering about as much interior space. It's got a flex-fuel engine and electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries.

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