A Canadian company called Motive is developing an electric, four-passenger vehicle with a shell made out of composite material from hemp mats. (Photos of it have not been officially released yet, but an indication of what it might look like can be found in a photo of one of their other car designs.)
Such a material is known as a bio-composite because it is plant-based. These materials are becoming more popular because they are light weight and low cost. Dr. John Wolodoko from Alberta Innovates Technology Futures who makes the material said, “Natural materials such as hemp can offer a green and sustainable alternative to conventional fibres used in composites.” The company is located in Edmonton, and the hemp they use is grown in Vegreville.
Growing industrial hemp is legal in Canada, but illegal in the United States. For a long time, it has been used as a material for textiles and products like rope. Hemp has been used in paper production for 2,000 years. Today it is used for a number of things, including biodegradable plastics. Industrial hemp contains almost no THC – the psychoactive substance found in marijuana – so it is not used to make recreational or medicinal drugs.
So will the hemp Kestrel EV be partly biodegradable? That question has yet to be answered, but what is known is that the car will have a top speed of 90 kilometers per hour. The range per charge depends on which batteries are used, but it is said to be 40-160 kilometers. It is being developed along with five other electric vehicles for something called Project Eve. The endeavor is focused on creating new electric vehicles to boost their production in Canada. The Kestrel will have its debut at an electric vehicle conference in Vancouver.
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