A Canadian company will next month launch what would surely be a hippy's perfect car - one built largely from cannabis.
The car, called the Kestrel, is a compact electric vehicle which can carry four people - so not much new about it there. But what may make it stand out from the crowd - to the nose, if not to the eye - is the fact that its body is made from what manufacturer Motive Industries calls an 'impact resistant bio composite material' - good old hemp.
"Electric cars need to be efficient," designer Darren McKeage says. "Therefore the Kestrel design had to be simple - minimized part count - and lightweight, while still being unique and eye-catching.”
The hemp is processed by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (AITF) in Edmonton Alberta and grown in Vegreville, Alberta. But don't all run off there at once; the variety they're using means you'd have to smoke a field-full to get high.
Prototyping and testing will begin on the vehicle in the next week or so. The aim is to achieve the same mechanical properties as glass composites, but at a much lower weight and with less environmental cost.
Composite materials are currently used in formula one vehicles as well as many road going vehicles and Motive says they've been found to be stronger and safer than steel.
“Natural materials such as hemp can offer a green and sustainable alternative to conventional fibers used in composites," says John Wolodko of AITF.