Hemp-mobile to be made in Canada?

Auto industry going green with the Kestrel

An Alberta Crown corporation and a group of Canadian companies are making an electric car made of hemp. Hemp is a plant from the cannabis family so this is seen as a unique form of construction.

The Calgary company Motive Industries Inc. will be testing the prototype late August 2010. Motive Industries Inc. is a vehicle development firm that focuses on advanced technology and materials. The motor is made by TM4 Electrodynamic Systems of Boucherville, Quebec.

Why hemp? Hemp is the common name for the cannabis plant. The plant has fibrous roots, stalks and stems useful for producing a variety of products and seeds that are edible. There is very little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC} in the industrial hemp. So this is quite a bit different from the marijuana or hashish product.

Henry Ford first built a car made of hemp fibre and resin more than half a century ago. Then the manufacturers went with steel and other materials. The car body is made up of mats of hemp and it is being used because it is a strong structural material. The composite material in the car body will be impact-resistant. This is homegrown hemp from Vegreville, Alta.

The Kestrel is just one of five electric vehicles being developed by Project Eve. Project Eve is an automotive industry collaboration founded by Motive and Toronto Electric. This project is aimed at increasing the production of electric vehicles and electric vehicle components in Canada.

The first 20 cars will be delivered next year EnMax, a Calgary-based energy-related company that is participating in this project. The Kestrel cards will be built by polytechnic students out of Alberta, Quebec and Toronto.

Look for the vehicle's full design to be released after the September EV 2010 VÉ Conference and Trade Show in Vancouver. Once again we see old ways mixing with new technology to create a better environment.

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