Hemp is finding more and more purposes in the making of every day products, and ever since 2018 when the Farm Bill was signed into law, hemp is available for experimentation.
We’ve seen it used in sneaker culture, we’ve seen it compete against steel, and now we’re seeing it gain a better footing in the car industry.
At first, it’s difficult to visualize how hemp is even used in this context, but the answer comes almost entirely from extraction.
As an article in Auto Evolution puts it, cellulose extracted from the plant is “the most abundant organic polymer on this planet.” The cellulose gets extracted from hemp and then gets mixed with other elements in a way similar to the creation of plastic. However, this method has much less bio-waste. Flexibility and strength can be modified depending on the mixture.
The first hemp plastic car was actually introduced in the 40’s by Henry Ford. The body had 70% cellulose fibers and was considered 10 times stronger than steel.
A more recent example is BMW’s i3 in 2013. In its class, it was 800 pounds lighter than the competition, and besides carbon fiber in the casing, all of the plastic was hemp-derived.
The fact that all of this can be done within the US is a huge factor in convenience and simplicity of process. No geo-political factors will get in the way of manufacturing.
More and more examples of hemp-derived automobiles continue to come out as the industry continues to be in its experimentation phase with the compound.