The automotive industries relationship with the hemp plant is as old as the industry itself.
From Popular Mechanics:
In 1941 Henry Ford invented a cellulose-plastic prototype car fuelled by hemp and vegetable seed oils
Ford demonstrating the strength of biocomposite technology
‘When Henry Ford recently unveiled his plastic car, the result of 12 years of research, he gave the world a glimpse of the automobile of tomorrow, its tough panels moulded under hydraulic pressure of 1,500 pounds per square inch (psi) from a recipe that calls for 70 percent of cellulose fibres from wheat straw, hemp, and sisal plus 30 percent resin binder. The only steel in the car is its tubular welded frame. The plastic car weighs a ton, 1,000 pounds lighter than a comparable steel car.’
Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine, designed it to run on vegetable and seed oils like hemp. Ford originally intended his vehicles to run off of vegetable oils, stating “there’s enough alcohol in one year’s yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for one hundred years.”
‘Why use up the forests which are centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in annual growth of the hemp fields?’
However, the gasoline industry lobbied hard to keep alcohol taxes high and drop the price of gasoline. This even “coincided” with the prohibition of alcohol and hemp in the 1920’s.
Today the inspiration and the solution are rooted in the past and the soil…
Ministry of Hemp talks with Bruce Michael Dietzen, founder of RENEW sports cars – the startup that created the cannabis car.
BD: Henry Ford had discovered how to make cars from hemp that were four times greener than today’s electric vehicles, almost 75 years ago. That’s when I knew I had to follow in Henry Ford’s footsteps.
four times greener? most people assume that electric cars are the ultimate green solution. how is that possible?
BD: A Union of Concerned Scientists study recently concluded that the Lifetime Carbon Footprint (LCF) of today’s electric vehicles are about half that of gasoline cars. Unfortunately, they forgot to factor in that electric vehicles need a second set of lithium ion batteries in order to reach today’s average Vehicle Miles Traveled of 227,200 miles. Once, you factor a second set of batteries in, electric vehicles have an Lifetime Carbon Footprint that’s 66% of gas cars.
how does henry ford’s hemp car stack up against that?
BD: By making every component he possibly could from carbon negative plants like hemp, Ford offset the other carbon positive components. As a result, he effectively negated the CO2 generated during the manufacturing process which is usually about 23% of an internal combustion vehicle’s Life Carbon Footprint. He then fueled his car with cellulosic ethanol made from hemp remnants, which today is considered a second generation biofuel and 86% greener than gasoline. So the math was simple from there. Electric vehicles s have a footprint that’s 66% of gas cars, while Ford’s hemp car had a footprint that was 14% of gas cars. That’s a pretty big difference.