Yep, you read that right! Back in the 1940’s Henry Ford released a car that was made and run off of the plant material, hemp.
Back then, metal was needed for military supplies, so there was little to be used for car production. This slowed the industry. Henry Ford and his team got creative. In a span of 12 years, they had invented the first automobile that was almost entirely made from plants!
“70 percent of cellulose fibers from wheat straw, hemp and sisal plus 30 percent resin binder. The only steel in the car [was] its tubular welded frame.”
– Popular Mechanics Magazine December 1941
The team was able to make strong bioplastics. Some say these plastics are up to 10x stronger than steel!
Hemp Oil to Biodiesel
Okay so now we have a sustainable car, now let’s fill it up! And, this too can be sustainable. Almost 100% of hemp oil can be converted into biodiesel (97% to be exact).
Unfortunately, this concept was ahead of its time and there was not a lot of interest. These days we are pushing for more sustainable options in every aspect of living. Perhaps this is a concept worth revisiting?
Fast Forward to 2017…
Jay Leno featured a little red convertible car that was made out of 100 pounds of hemp on his show Jay Lenos Garage. The owner, Bruce Dietzen, is proud of his strong and durable hemp car. Dietzen and his company, Renew Sports Cars are working to revisit this sustainable concept for automotive vehicles.
It seems Dietzen’s company is picking up where Ford left off—aiming to produce a line of vehicles within the next 10 years that are free of carbon fiber, steel and petroleum-based plastics.
– High Times Magazine 2017
Hemp Cars Making a Return
Bruce Dietzen invested $200,000 (USD) for his hemp car prototype. He is very pleased with the results and is currently taking orders to make more! The price of a hemp car could range anywhere from $40,000 to $197,000 (USD).
Imagine… if the world switched to a sustainably made and run car, there would be significantly fewer emissions into our ecosystem. Just to put it into perspective, manufacturing one car emits ~10 tones of CO2. That’s just to make the car! Then on average another 6 tones of CO2 emitted from driving around for a year.
By fueling the car with biofuels, it is 3x greener than today’s Electric Vehicles. Biofuels such as biobutanol made from corn stalks, or cellulosic ethanol, which Ford made from hemp.
Ultimately, it is nice to see alternatives to everyday items that reduce our biological footprint. Even small changes make a big difference. Bringing your own bags to a grocery store, reusable water bottles, not using plastic straws are small acts that make a difference.
Would you drive a car made from plant materials? Let us know what you think in the comments! Follow us @cannalifenet for more stories.