Still from an old training film regarding the use of hemp fiber.
Hemp could have been victory for Henry Ford and the U.S., but now Canada's Kestrel cannabis car will pick up the slack. (Photo Credit: CC BY/ ThrashedParanoid/Wikipedia)

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. Dubbed the Kestrel, the bio-composite in question is hemp. It’s a cannabis-constructed car.

Cannabis car a product of the Hempcar Manifesto

As with anything else involving hemp and cannabis, the Kestrel cannabis car has stirred attention. Canadian activist group trumpeted a 2001 American road tour of 10,000 miles undertaken by a vehicle similar to the Kestrel, but not constructed of cannabis fiber. The experimental car they used ran on hemp biodiesel, which is not currently the case with the Kestrel, although it may eventually come to pass. The 2001 alternative fuel car used hemp biodiesel for fuel, and the group stressed at the time that if hemp could legally be cultivated in the United States, greater fuel economy and lesser environmental impact would be within reach. Considering that the industrial hemp necessary has no psychoactive properties and is not a drug, found America’s lack of response bewildering.

Alberta Innovates Technology Futures provides the hemp

Alberta Innovates Technology Futures provides the hemp for the Kestrel and purchases its cannabis stock from an industrial hemp farm located in Vegreville, Alberta. Hemp for body construction is lightweight, renewable and strong as glass composite, reports Fast Company. It is unclear at this stage when Kestrel will enter the production phase, but Motive has plans to test the vehicle at great length later in 2010.

Henry Ford knew about hemp fuel back in 1925

According to, Henry Ford told the New York Times that “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,” he said. “There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented.”

Among the weeds Ford recognized was hemp. He even went so far as to construct a car of resin-stiffened hemp fiber that ran on ethanol made from hemp. American farmers faced economic calamity during the ongoing recession, and Ford envisioned a movement toward “Farm Chemurgy” that would cultivate plant and vegetable material as vehicular fuel sources and body construction elements. It would benefit Ford tremendously and revive American agriculture. However, Congress eventually passed the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Thanks in large part to the influence of the DuPont company and newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, cannabis was criminalized in America.

Fast Company

BBC TV study of cannabinoid receptors

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