A group of Canadian companies have come together to design an electric car, dubbed the Kestrel, with a body sculpted from a super-tough composite produced from mats of hemp. A prototype is being tested, and the first 20 Kestrel cars will be delivered next year. No word on what sort of fumes are emitted by the tailpipe. Via CBC News:
Automotive pioneer Henry Ford first built a car made of hemp fibre and resin more than half a century ago. “It’s not an original idea,” Motive Industries president Nathan Armstrong said.
The Kestrel will be prototyped and tested later in August by Calgary-based Motive Industries Inc., a vehicle development firm focused on advanced materials and technologies, the company announced.
The compact car, which will hold a driver and up to three passengers, will have a top speed of 90 kilometres per hour and a range of 40 to 160 kilometers before needing to be recharged.
Fiberglass and carbon fibre-based composites have gained popularity as materials for the body of racecars because they are strong, but light. Such composite materials consist of pieces or fibres of a hard reinforcement material, such as glass or carbon fibre, surrounded and supported by a matrix of a material such as plastic.
“Plus, it’s illegal to grow it in the U.S., so it actually gives Canada a bit of a market advantage,” Armstrong added. The U.S. does allow the import of processed hemp.