Take A Trip: Vehicles Made With Hemp Are Creating A Buzz

Did you know Mercedes' new C-Class cars contain over 40 lbs of hemp? It's true, man, and (unless you're trafficking) you won't find it in the trunk.

Since 2002 automakers such as Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Lotus, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Volvo and more have incorporated hemp-based components in their vehicles. Even bike, boat and plane designers are getting in on the action. Makes you wonder just what those dudes are smoking.           

1941 Ford “Hempmobile”

Ford may be one of those automakers adding hemp to their vehicles but in the case of the Blue Oval it's nothing new. Check out the photo above, featuring a prototype hemp-bodied 1941 Ford and a proud Henry Ford standing alongside.

Though hemp use both recreational and commercial was entering a long Dark Age by that time, one can't deny Ford had a better idea long before they added a lightbulb to their advertising. (hemp car image via Green Geo)

Lotus ECO Elise Concept Car

You might want to assume the lotus position before reading on... The Lotus ECO Elise concept eschews traditional fiberglass body panels for ones made from hemp-reinforced composites.

The clear finish on the wide central stripe shows off the hemp fibers similarly to techniques used to highlight the use of carbon fiber. (hemp car image via Composites World)

Onyx Hanfbike

The Hanfbike – literally “Hemp Bike” in German – from ONYX Composites employs both hemp and bamboo composites in its triathlon-style frame. The use of biomaterials provides the strength of aluminum yet is even lighter due to the low density of hemp fiber.

ONYX has continued to refine the Hanfbike to make it even more eco-friendly and expects to have models ready for retail purchase sometime in 2016. (hemp bike image via Westfälische Nachrichten)   

HempEarth's Hemp Plane

We all know some types of hemp can get you high but Derek Kesek, a former organic restaurant owner, is taking that concept to an even higher level with an airplane made mainly from industrial hemp.

Kesek's company, Hempearth, is building a four-seat plane using hemp-based composite materials instead of fiberglass: basically the plane is 75 percent hemp! Not hemp-y enough for ya? Kesek has designed the plane to run on biofuel made from hemp. (hemp plane image via Inhabitat)

Be.e Electric Scooter

Just as a bee might be considered a more mellow wasp, the Be.e Scooter is sort of a milder Vespa. It's also lighter and much more eco-friendly than the iconic Italian scooter named after a wasp thanks to body panels formed from hemp and flax fibers impregnated with biologically derived resin.

Dutch startup Van.eko states the Be.e Scooter can accelerate from 0-50 kph in seven seconds, offers riders a 60-90km range, and can be fully charged in under four hours using a standard 220V electrical outlet. (hemp scooter image via WIRED)

BMW i3

Using hemp might not get cars high but it sure does make 'em lighter! BMW exploited hemp's combination of strength and lightness to help shave around 800 lbs off its i3 EV, giving it a leg up over competitors like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.

Unlike many vehicles built with this new biotechnology, the BMW i3 can be bought right now: production began in late 2013 and it's been available in the USA since May of 2014. (hemp car image via Medical Marijuana Superstore)

Earthrace Trimaran

Launched in February of 2006, the Earthrace ocean-going trimaran was built using hemp composite materials and its engines were tuned to run on biofuel. The 78-foot (24 m) long boat broke the world record for circumnavigating the globe in a powerboat on June 27th of 2008 after a voyage lasting just under 61 days.

Later renamed the MY Ady Gil, the boat accompanied the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in its anti-whaling activities and sank in January of 2010 after colliding with a Japanese factory whaling ship. (hemp boat image via Francisco Martins      

SimplyCity Van

When tomorrow's eco-citizens “refuse to travel by a ton and a half of steel to go to work,” the SimplyCity van will be there to ease their minds and save the planet.

Designed to order in configurations dubbed the Pick-Up, the Van, and the Person Service Provider (whatever that might be), the SimplyCity boasts eco-friendly construction employing hemp composites that reduce its weight by up to 30 percent. (hemp car image via Future Transportation)

Cannaboard Skateboard

“Don’t Smoke it - Ride it!” is Cannaboard's motto though chances are anyone riding a Cannaboard is, was, or will be smoking something sooner or later.

Makers of “the world's one and only real hemp-made skateboard,” Cannaboards are constructed from 95% reinforced hemp fibers augmented by carbon fiber and Kevlar for added strength and durability. (hemp skateboard image via Modern Hippie Mag)

Kestrel Electric Car

Designed by Calgary, Canada-based Motive Industries Inc., the Kestrel is a three-door, battery-powered hatchback that weighing just 2,500 pounds. According to Nathan Armstrong, president of Motive Industries, the Kestrel is made from “hemp composite as strong as the fiberglass in boats, yet incredibly lightweight” resulting in overall fuel-efficiency that exceeds that of other electric cars.

When the Kestrel finally reaches the marketplace, expects the hemp car's sticker price to be in the $25,000 range. (hemp car image above via TruthOnPot.com)