Marijuana's closely related plant cousin, otherwise known as hemp, has many more uses than making rope and clothes. Hemp could revolutionize the auto industry, making for an auto-innovation that is even more groundbreaking than electrically powered cars. Bio-degradable and super sturdy, cars made entirely of hemp is the next step in green transportation.
More than just a lofty environmental idea, real scientific research has been performed, and is ongoing, on the uses of hemp in manufacturing automobiles. Methods of creating plant-based substitutes for metal materials is being researched by scientist in England and Australia, who believe hemp cars are the way of the future.
Alan Crosky of the University of New South Whales in Australia points out to ABC news that lighter hemp-made cars will require less fuel to propel them down the road, making them greener in general.
Crosky also notes that hemp fibers are actually stronger (in terms of strength vs. weight) than steel and is far cheaper to produce. Hemp cars would also cost less to produce, and, best of all, when they "die" the body can just be buried back into the earth. No more junkyards and harmful environmental waste.
Prototypes of hemp cars have actually already been produced. The official first (aside from Henry Ford's Model T from way back when) was the Kestrel, a 4-passenger car created by the Canadian transportation design firm Motive. The Kestrel can speed up to 90km/hour, can travel 100 miles before being recharged, and weights only 2, 500 lbs. While the car looks to be nearly done, things have been a little quite on the Kestrel front, but you can read more about it here.
Hopefully more care manufacturers and designers pick up on the benefits of hemp, and how it can be actually be the answer the many problems plaguing the automotive industry, at least the issues seen through an environmental lens. Here's to hemp.
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