While the concept of building an automobile made entirely of fibers derived from the cannabis plant has been a part of the American underground since the days of Henry Ford, the production of a more environmentally sound means of transportation has yet to gain enough traction to be sold to mainstream consumers. However, a Florida man has made it his mission to produce sports cars made mostly of hemp fibers that he believes could foster significant change in the world of carbon neutral motor vehicles.
Bruce Dietzen, president of Renew Sport Cars, has embraced the idea Henry Ford emerged onto the scene with over seven decades ago when he manufactured a prototype of a car made with and fueled by cannabis hemp. In fact, the company’s website suggests that they are picking up where Ford left off in order to produce a line of vehicles within the next 10 years that are free of carbon fiber, steel and petroleum-based plastics.
“We have already made significant progress toward this goal by making everything we can from carbon negative cannabis hemp," reads the Renew mission statement. "We have also been experimenting with advanced bio-fuels which may soon be carbon negative as well.”
One of the most intriguing elements of the Renew sports car is that it was obviously not designed for the average environmentally concerned hippie turned modern day soccer mom. These hemp-bodied vehicles are custom made with gas and electric engines that can deliver up to 525 horsepower, which is comparable to a Ford Shelby GT350 with a blinding top speed of 180 mph.
What’s more is these motorized beasts are sexy, not boxy. These vehicles were designed in the image of exotic roadsters from the 1950s and 1960s, similar to the rides that were once popularized by James Bond and Steve McQueen.
The first inception of the Renew cannabis car was built using the chassis of a Mazda, with the body constructed using around 100 pounds of hemp that was imported from China. Although the car is not made entirely of hemp, the core of the plant is used in conjunction with other materials to create a special plastic that is then used to shape the body of the car.
Sadly, Dietzen, who finished building the prototype in 2015, is forced to import all of the hemp fibers used to manufacture his vehicles because the production of industrial hemp in the United States is still considered a felonious act in the eyes of the federal government. Statistics show the current U.S. market for hemp-based products is nearly $580 million in annual sales.
In a recent article in the Miami Herald, Deitzen, a retired computer salesman, said he is currently taking orders for the cannabis car, which he insists will be custom made without thousands of workers on a large assembly line. Of course, this approach to building automobiles makes it a bit more expensive than just walking onto your local car lot and financing the average domestic contraption. Depending on the desired model, prices for the cannabis car range anywhere between $40,000 to $197,000.
Fortunately, there are a handful of companies out there that specialize in financing for custom-made vehicles. According to the Renew website, Collector Car Lending, JJ Best and Choice Motor Credit will work with consumers needing to borrow the cash to get into one of these rides.
Several other car manufacturers have developed hemp-bodied vehicles in recent years, but for one reason or another, none of them have managed to get a single model into production. However, Deitzen believes that within the next 10 years, more automotive manufacturers with utilize hemp fibers.
For the past year, Deitzen has been traveling all across the nation showing off his cannabis car to people at hemp festivals and other marijuana–themed events. He told the Herald that he is planning to demonstrate his latest creation later this summer at the HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup in Clio, Michigan.
(Photo Courtesy of MiataKitCar.com)