There’s already a hemp car, but this isn’t like that. The new vehicle creating a buzz isn’t powered by the plant. It’s electric. Where the hemp comes in is in the biocomposite body.

Motive Industries, a Canadian company, is behind the electric vehicle (EV), dubbed Kestrel. It recently unveiled designs and said it intends the Kestrel to be part of the lineup in Project Eve, an ambitious effort to hatch an electric car industry in the Great White North.

image via Motive Industries

Motive calls the Kestrel a “four-passenger compact vehicle,” but readily acknowledges that it’s mainly meant for a driver and maybe one other passenger. Hemp mats from Alberta go into the lightweight, impact-resistant body of the EV. The design emphasizes compactness while attempting to maintain interior space. A unique feature Motive points to is having the doors open right up into the front wheel well, allowing for a “very cab-forward profile and compact front end.”

By now you might be asking: electric cars in Canada? The country’s northern latitudes are perfect for polar bears and hockey players, but Motive and Project Eve acknowledge there will be climate-related challenges—heating and cooling, road salts, range, charging and battery management among them. Still, with a consortium that already includes several companies and is looking for more, the group’s leadership is confident.

“Our Fleet Program in particular represents a good opportunity for Canadian fleet managers to introduce EVs into their daily activities and to learn about electric mobility directly from the people who make the technologies,” said Steve Dallas of Toronto Electric, who founded Project Eve with Motive’s Nathan Armstrong. “This will help them make educated decisions about EVs and their use in the Canadian environment.”

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