US company Renew Sports Cars designs and builds what it calls “ultra-low carbon footprint” (ULCF) sports cars featuring bodies made with industrial hemp.
Renew has revived the 1950’s and 60’s era of rolling art cars with a range of industrial hemp bodied vehicles with petrol or electric engine options up to 525HP. The company’s long term goal is to create cars that are 100% carbon neutral and non-polluting.
Industrial hemp was chosen as a material for the bodywork as is it lighter than than steel or fiberglass, resists dents and isn’t as brittle as carbon fiber. In addition to being biodegradable, hemp is also carbon-negative.
Renew is currently producing three vehicles.
The 100i (100HP) and 130i (130HP) Canna 100 & 130 is based on a petrol-powered Miata drive train. Renew says these cars have a lifetime carbon footprint 10% lower than the average new electric vehicle.
Weighing just 2,400 lbs, the Canna 265 Turbo has a power to weight ratio comparable to a Porsche 911 Cabriolet but costs around half the price.
Renew vehicles can also run on ethanol, including hemp ethanol if it is ever made available.
Also available are upgrade kits to convert the Canna to an EV, claimed to be 22% greener than the average electric vehicle.
Renew kits can be purchased to suit ’90-’97 Miata vehicles.
The Renew “cannabis car” has been touring parts of the USA, starting in Key West and finishing up in Boulder, Colorado. The vehicle was fueled with BioButanol, an alcohol that can be produced from organic material such as corn, wheat and sugar cane. It’s expected that in the future non-food plants such as industrial hemp can be used to produce BioButanol.
Trivia – In the 1940’s Henry Ford toyed with the idea of creating a vehicle shell based on plant materials, including hemp. Ford chemists reportedly developed a material composed of 70 per cent cellulose fiber and 30 percent binder. The cellulose fiber consisted of 50 per cent pine fiber, 30 per cent straw, 10 per cent hemp and 10 per cent ramie (a flowering plant in the nettle family native to eastern Asia). Renew Sports Cars was inspired by Mr. Ford’s work.