Hemp Car Developed in Canada

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A new car, built largely from hemp, is being billed as the world’s most eco-friendly car.

The Kestrel has a top speed of just under 60 miles per hour, and can travel around 100 miles before it needs to be recharged. Up to four people can fit in the eco-friendly automobile, and the body, made from hemp fibers, is highly resistant to impact. After a crash, the panels “pop” back into shape, reducing damage.

The body of the car was designed by Motive Industries, based in Quebec.

Nathan Armstrong, the president of the company, explained “Hemp composite is as strong as the fiberglass in boats, yet incredibly lightweight.”

Research into how to build a car from hemp was sponsored by a coalition of businesses and schools of engineering.

In 1941, Henry Ford designed and built a car made entirely from organic materials, including hemp. Tests showed the car bodies were stronger and weighed less than than comparable models made from steel.

Unlike the United States, the government of Canada is actively supporting the growth of the hemp industry in their nation. The plant can be used in more than 50,000 products. Hemp can replace plastic and petroleum in a wide range of uses.

The three-door hatchback weighs just 2,500 pounds. A Ford Fusion, which is about the same size, weighs 1,200 pounds more than the Kestrel. This increases fuel efficiency by 25 to 30 percent over traditional designs.

Unlike metals, hemp does not need high heat or toxic chemicals to process or shape. This provides a great benefit to the environment over older car designs.
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