Motive Industries Kestrel car: a Canadian cannabis marvel

Will the cannabis car be the car of the future? CC by avlxyz/Flickr

The search for alternative fuels and modes of transportation that are environmentally friendly has taken a new, green turn. Motive Industries of Calgary, Alberta, has announced plans to introduce Canada’s first bio-composite electric car, reports Fast Company. Kestrel is the name, and hemp is the green construction material. It’s a cannabis-constructed car.

Every cannabis car needs its Hempcar Manifesto

The Kestrel will no doubt spur clouds of controversy. But’s 10,000-mile test run of a hemp biofueled vehicle proved that it could work. The Kestrel – at least in early stages – will be made partly from hemp, but won’t run on hemp biofuel. The U.S. has yet to make cultivating industrial hemp legal, though, so they won’t know what it’s like. There are no psychoactive elements to industrial hemp, and it isn’t a drug, so the Americans’ stance is strange, considering the potential benefits.

Hemp from Alberta Innovates Technology Futures

The supply chain for hemp starts at a farm in Vegreville, Alberta, and makes its way to Alberta Innovates Technology Futures. That company then supplies the hemp for the Kestrel. Hemp for body construction is lightweight, renewable and as strong as glass composite, reports Fast Company. Motive isn’t ready to start producing Kestrels on an assembly line just yet, but testing of a prototype should certainly begin before 2010 comes to a close.

Henry Ford knew about hemp fuel back in 1925

“The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumach out by the road, or from apples, weeds, sawdust — almost anything,” said the prescient Henry Ford to the New York Times during the Great Depression. “There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented,” Ford continued.

Among the weeds Ford recognized was hemp. This is a safe assumption because he made a car out of resin-stiff hemp fibers. It ran on hemp-based ethanol. Ford could have saved the country’s farmers from the grip of the Great Depression. There would have been mutual benefit. But then came the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. There had been a series of battles leading to that point in Congressional history. Once the DuPont company and newspaper uber-baron William Randolph Hearst had their say, hemp was buried beneath pages of laws. Ford’s path of innovation was closed.

Additional reading

Fast Company: