World’s First Electric Powered Hemp Car to be Made in Canada

This morning's reading turned up The Kestrel. It's the world’s first production-ready hemp car. The electric car made of hemp is being developed by a group of Canadian companies in collaboration with an Alberta Crown corporation. The Kestrel cars will be built with the help of polytechnic schools in Alberta, Quebec and Toronto. The Kestrel will be selling for $25,000 CDN starting in 2012. "You can smoke it, you can wear it, you can eat it… and now, you can drive in it. Is there anything you can’t do with hemp?" - Jack Herer.com

The car's body will be made of an impact-resistant composite material produced from mats of hemp, a plant from the cannabis family. The material is being supplied by Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures, a provincial Crown corporation that provides technical services and funding to help commercialize new technologies. The hemp is being grown in Vegreville, Alta.

The Kestrel is one of five electric vehicles being developed by Project Eve, an automotive industry collaboration founded by Motive and Toronto Electric, an Ontario material handling and electric motor company, to boost the production of electric vehicles and electric vehicle components in Canada.

As a structural material, hemp is about the best as it has about twice the strength of other plant fibres. It doesn't require much water or pesticide use, and grows well in Canada, providing a high yield per hectare. Plus, it's illegal to grow hemp in the U.S., so it actually gives Canada a market advantage. The U.S. does allow the import of processed hemp. Cool eh!

So what happens when the Kestrel finally breaks down and is no longer drivable? Would it be environmentally friendly to invite a few friends over, order a pizza and watch it go up in smoke? - Autoguide