A Florida car maker is giving a new definition to "green" technology in the world of cars.
Renew Sports Cars, a Key West-based car design and manufacturing company, is seeking to create a "100 percent carbon-neutral and non-polluting" line of sports cars. It's true that, under most circumstances, the phrase environmentally-friendly sports car would be oxymoronic, but then again most sports cars aren't made from cannabis plants and designed to run on biofuels.
The Renew line of sports cars would feature bodies made entirely from interwoven fibers of hemp - a high-growing type of Cannabis plant—and engines that can run on biodiesel or pure ethanol.
Bruce Dietzen, president of Renew, has already assembled a prototype of his line and he's taking it on a cross-country promotional tour.
Dietzen is driving the so-called Cannabis Car, a shiny, red, two-seater convertible that can run on BioButanol, a fuel made from recycled agricultural waste, to hundreds of festivals and events to raise awareness of the vehicle and possibly draw the attention of a few investors. Dietzen is offering a starting price of $42,000 for the cars, but due to his start-up status, interested buyers have to pay cash up front.
Dietzen said he was inspired to design a hemp-bodied car by Henry Ford, who, with the help of famed scientist George Washington Carver, made a prototype car body from agricultural plastic derived from hemp and soy in 1941. Ford's car ran on a similar biofuel called cellulosic ethanol, which was made from hemp remnants rather than corn, which is the case with BioButanol.
"Both fuels are considered next generation biofuels," Dietzen wrote in an email. "BioButanol has its advantages, one being that it is a "drop in" fuel, which requires no modification to the engine. Ford's prototype had a lifetime carbon footprint which was roughly half that of today's electric vehicles."
There would be three versions of the Renew sports car. The Canna 100/Canna 130 have a carbon footprint that's 10 percent lower than the average new electric vehicle and can hit 100 horsepower and 130 horsepower, respectively. The Canna EV has a carbon footprint that’s 22 percent cleaner than the average electric car, with versions ranging between 80 and 400 horsepower. And, last but not least, the Canna Turbo 265 can get up to 265 horsepower (or 525 if you opt for a traditional gasoline engine) and has a carbon footprint on par with the average new electric vehicle.
The hemp fiber bodies for the Canna cars sit on top of reused Miata chasses from between 1990 and 1997.