People are raving about green sports cars made of hemp fiber and fueled by biodiesel. These futuristic cars are truly remarkable and a unique breed. Two brands worth noting in this car category are Renew and Lotus.
The Renew Sports Car (pictured above) is almost entirely made of hemp, from its body to its fuel. Its first limited edition “Signature Series” includes three models:
- Canna 255 – Provides 255 HP and weighs only 2,500 pounds. It is so lightweight, as light as the Porsche 911 Cabriolet, but costs only half as much.
- Canna 525 – This one delivers 525 HP and is designed for professional racers. Weighing 2,800 pounds, this car is comparable to branded cars worth several millions, but way, way cheaper.
- Canna EV – Renew has the electric car market in mind. This EV takes owners around town with up to 80 HP, with a look and feel of a legit sports car.
Lotus Eco Elise
The Lotus Eco Elise is not largely made of hemp, but of other sustainable materials. Hemp is used on its hard top that houses two solar panels to help power its electrical components.
The Eco Elise is fitted with especially designed software for better efficient driving and employs totally water-based paint system to reduce carbon footprint.
But Why hemp?
Hemp is the high-growing industrial variety of the Cannabis plant. For many years, hemp has been the choice material for the manufacture of cloth, rope, resin, wax, oil, paper and fuel.
Its relation to the herb Cannabis or Marijuana makes it controversial, although in reality, it does not contain the same level of cannabinoids that make Marijuana addictive or therapeutic.
In fact, hemp seeds can be eaten raw, grounded into a meal or powder used to make hemp milk, hemp tea or hemp juice. The seeds may also be extracted to make hempseed oil, and its leaves may be used in salads.
More importantly, hemp fiber is exceptionally strong and lightweight. It can be made into fiber boards, insulators, and even concrete blocks. It grows and matures very quickly, about four months, and absorbs CO2 very efficiently. It is the ideal material for car making because of its carbon negative quality and its effectiveness in removing carbon from the environment.
Hemp Cultivation in the US
For now, hemp farming is strictly limited for the purposes of research and development. But the future looks bright for industrial hemp in the US.
The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 prohibited the cultivation and sale of all Cannabis varieties, including hemp, which virtually contains zero cannabinoids. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 identified all Cannabis plants as Schedule I drug and growing such plants, including hemp, has since been illegal.
Just two years ago, the US Farm Bill of 2014 allowed states to pass their own legislation for cultivating hemp for research. At present, states like Kentucky, Colorado, and Oregon are already growing industrial hemp.
In addition, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, once passed, would further de-classify hemp as a Schedule I drug. This would pave the way for mass cultivation of industrial hemp, and quite possibly the wide use of its fiber for industrial products such as cars.
Renew and Lotus hemp cars embody the dream of Henry Ford and botanist George Washington Carver of growing an automobile from the soil. They truly make good use of Cannabis hemp to make stronger, lighter, cheaper, and greener cars.