Hey Man, Check Out This Canadian Green!


On the subject of e-cars: We’ve had back to back to back news, so I thought it good to let the topic bake for a bit while we wait for the public reception of the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, and others.


This is way too cool to pass up. Just in from the Great Green North: an e-car made of pot! (Well, hemp, but you know the drill. Hemp, pot, same diff when it comes to headlines!)

Says CBC News (and, of course, 420 Magazine), the car, which will be made into a prototype this month by Calgary-based Motive Industries, is called the Kestrel and is doubling down on the green factor. Its body will be comprised of “impact-resistant composite material” made from mats of hemp – which, by the way, will be locally harvested in Vegreville, Alberta. (Gotta love the homegrown.) The car will be a compact designed for four dudes/dudettes, including the driver, and will top out at just over 55 mph. Its range will vary from 25 miles to 100 miles, depending on the type of battery.

The Kestrel is part of Project Eve, a Canadian non-profit collaboration aimed at increasing that country’s production of electric vehicles and components. And guess who’s gonna be helping out with the pot car? College kids! Students at polytechnic schools in Alberta, Quebec and Toronto will help roll these babies out the door and into the hands of parktakers sometime next year when the first twenty are due to be dealt.

Using hemp to build a car is “not an original idea,” says Motive Industries President Nathan Armstrong. Henry Ford, in fact, experimented with the not-so-evil weed in 1941 when he created a hemp-bodied car. The vehicle – pictured below – was fueled on the stuff, too. CarDomain has a video of the indestructo-prototype.


Today, however, with a renewed emphasis on reducing weight while not giving up on strength, hemp makes sense. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to make (sunshine, soil and a little love, bra) and isn’t as fancy pants as fibreglass and carbon-fiber-based racecar material, which requires all kinds of heat and chemical wizardry to produce.

“As a structural material, hemp is about the best,” says Armstrong. The CBC notes: “It [hemp] has about twice the strength of other plant fibres. It doesn’t require much water or pesticide use, and grows well in Canada, providing a high yield per hectare.”

“Plus,” says Armstrong, showing some true patriot love, “it’s illegal to grow it in the U.S., so it actually gives Canada a bit of a market advantage!”

Yeah, well, I live in Northern Cali, man. You wanna talk advantage?

Images: dwhartwig and Hugo90

Scott Adelson

Scott Adelson is EcoSalon's Senior Editor of HyperKulture, a monthly column that explores opening cultural doors to initiate personal change. He is also the author of InPRINT, which reviews and discusses books, new and old. You can reach him at scott@adelson.org.