Siraj Datoo reports that hemp is now used in more than 25,000 products, including luxury cars:
Hemp fibers are probably something you associate more with ropes, sacks and baggy ethnic clothing than with luxury cars. But in a report on BMW’s new electric car, the i3, Bloomberg notes in passing that the car maker will line the door panels with hemp, as part of an interior design apparently aimed at making the i3’s drivers feel closer to nature and less likely to drain the battery in a speed-freak fit.
Companies have been using the organic raw material, which is made from the marijuana plant (usually with the cannabinoids stripped out), for decades. The Hemp Research Association estimates that the retail value in the US of hemp products came to $500 million in 2012, even though the US remains the only industrialized country in which it’s illegal, except in two states, to grow even the drug-free form of hemp.
(Photo of a car door made with hemp fiber and polyethylene by Christian Gahle.)