The Green Movement hasn't exactly taken hold of the automotive industry. True, research into alternative fuels is in full swing. These days you have hybrid gas/electric, solar powered, bio-diesel and the long-awaited hydrogen powered cars. Yet out of all these, so far only hybrids and bio-diesel fuled vehicles have made it to production. Bio-diesel is not even that feasible, with production costs that rival oil's. Yes, right now it's definitely cheaper to drill into the earth and mine for liquefied dinosaur bones than to make vegetable oil a viable fuel source.
But maybe the industry's looking at this from the wrong angle. Manufacturing adds a significant markup to a car's street price. If there were some way to lower that overhead, then we could possibly put more money into earth-friendly fuels. That's exactly what one Canadian company is trying to do. Its latest concept, the Kestrel, is greener than your average Prius. No, it doesn't have a limitless fuel source made in a cave, with a box of scraps. Under the hood, it's a standard battery-powered car. What truly sets the Kestrel apart is that it eschews traditional materials in favor of the hippie's favorite plant, the hemp.
You don't have to worry about the local pot-heads trying to set your car ablaze for a quick high. The bio-composite shell is made from a bio-composite containing hemp fiber, and should have zero recreational drug use. Since hemp is cheaper to produce than steel and aluminum, the Kestrel will be cheaper in comparison to other cars. This biodegradable body has other benefits too. The Kestrel weighs in at about one ton, about half of a Prius. The plant-based shell also crumples better in a crash, and since plants don't rust, that won't be a problem either.
Now let's hope that the Feds won't be stopping you every 5 miles to explain that your car isn't a narcotic substance.