Hemp is making a comeback in nearly every industry, transportation included.
Although hemp was first used by Henry Ford in 1941 and can still be found in many cars today, the Kestrel is the first modern car to be built primarily out of hemp.
Fittingly, the car was designed in Canada by Calgary-based Motive Industries Inc. Unlike the U.S., the Canadian government welcomes hemp farming and actively invests in the industry.
The Kestrel is a three-door hatchback that runs on battery power and is made from “hemp composite as strong as the fiberglass in boats, yet incredibly lightweight,” Nathan Armstrong, the president of Motive Industries, explained to Popular Science. The composite is made from infusing hemp stalks with polymer resin.
Weighing only 2,500 pounds, the Kestrel has a better fuel-efficiency than other electric cars, Armstrong also stated. He’s optimistic that Motive has pinpointed what “might be the sweet spot for electric vehicles.”
Unlike most electric vehicles, the Kestrel relies entirely on electrical power. A 16 kWh lithium-ion battery will allow the Kestrel to go up to 160 km per charge, with a top speed between 90 to 130 km/hr.
Over the last three years of prototyping, Motive Industries has received global interest from countries as far away as India. It’s also attracted the attention of celebrities such as Ziggy Marley, who reportedly gifted a Kestrel door panel to the owners of KNACKA – an Oregon-based hemp shop – last week.
Unfortunately, delays have pushed the deadline for commercial production past Motive’s initial goal of 2012.
But when the Kestrel finally becomes available to buyers, the line-up will likely be long.
Motive expects the hemp car to be priced at $25,000 – an investment that will surely appeal to the many drivers who see no end in rising gas prices.