Hemp continues its reign as a miracle plant, now as a key ingredient in what is being touted as the world’s most eco-friendly car.
The car, called the Kestrel, is being developed by Motive Industries Inc. with active support from the Canadian government.
Hemp lowers the embedded energy of the Kestrel, compared to the use of other materials, such as steel, which require much more energy and money to extract. Composite materials made with hemp can be stronger than steel and lighter than glass but with similar mechanical properties. The Kestrel seems sturdy and safe with an impact-resistant. It also offers a reasonably high speed of 90km or 56 miles per hour, and need recharging every 100 miles.
This isn’t the first time a car has been built out of hemp. Henry Ford had constructed them way back in the 40’s. Given the history of legal issues surround hemp, it is understandable that this versatile substance hasn’t been more widely accepted by the automobile industry. While Canada is supporting hemp, the U.S. still bans cannabis, preventing its use in many products for the food, oil, paper, textile, medicine, and of course, the automobile industry.
Despite this long-standing legal obstacle in the U.S., it’s heartening to see such a stellar car being produced by our Northern neighbors. Maybe good old competition will drive change in the courts so we Americans can enjoy sensible transportation too!
Image credit: aforero via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.
Source: Collective Evolution