When it comes to innovations in the auto industry, where do we look to? As it turns out, the answer may be cannabis. Designed and engineered by the Alberta-based firm Motives Industry, the Kestrel is a new, fully electric car with a body shell that is made of Cannabis Sativa L., better known as hemp.
The hemp, which is produced by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, is legally cultivated because it is a durable, soft fibre that has a variety of uses. Of course, this cannabis is non-psychoactive, and in the case of the Kestrel, has the same impact resistance as fiberglass.
Contrary to fiberglass, hemp is not only cheaper to produce, but has fewer health risks associated with it’s manufacturing. It is also lighter than steel and other glass composites, and is not based on oil like plastic. Instead of relying on energy intensive chemical processes, producing hemp only requires a field and sunlight. Furthermore, it does not require a lot of water or pesticides and provides high yields in Canada.
According to Motive Industries, the Kestrel will be prototyped and tested by the end of August and will seat four people. According to Motive Industries President Nathan Armstrong, it will have a top speed of 90 kilometres an hour, with a range of 40 to 160 kilometres before needing to be recharged, dependent on the type of battery used.
Unfortunately, those wishing to see the car’s design will have to wait until September after the EV 2010 VÉ Conference and Trade Show in Vancouver, when it is scheduled to be released.