Sounds like an April fools day joke but it isn’t; a deal struck by UK’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Ford UK and Hemcore, a company that grows cannabis plants, will attempt to develop a recyclable vehicle with materials made from hemp (common name for plants of the genus Cannabis). British Ministers have already agreed to drop more than £500,000 ($1m or €740,000) to support the project.
To get an idea of what we’re talking about, the cannabis fibers will be blended with polypropylene and the resulting mixture will then be molded into body parts. Apart form the fact that hemp-based materials are fully recyclable, they have high strength and stiffness, low raw material and energy costs and probably even more important, they are lighter than other materials. Ballpark figures suggest that cannabis-based materials could replace up to 100kg – 220 lb of other plastics, metals and resins used within the average car. (Picture: Carscoop – May use but credit)
–Continued: Click “Read More…” below to see Ford’s first hemp car
This isn’t the first time that cannabis-based materials will be used on cars. Henry Ford did it more than half a century ago but the technology never found its way into production. Ford’s prototype Hemp car was introduced in 1941 (see the video below) and it “wore” an experimental plastic body that used fibres made from hemp. Even though the car weighed 33 percent less than a comparable steel-bodied model, the hemp-based plastic was reported to withstand a blow 10 times as great as steel without even denting.