Canadian automaker Motive (Calgary, Alberta) on July 5 unveiled the interior of its Kestrel electric vehicle, featuring advanced bio-composites. The Motive Kestrel is a three-door, four-passenger compact. Nathan Armstrong, president of Motive, says that bio-composite materials derived from hemp and flax fiber will be used to create the headliner, door panels and trim, floor tub and center tunnel, instrument panel and center console panel.
“Everything except the dashboard and steering wheel, which will require areas made from urethane for compliance with safety standards,” says Darren McKeage, the designer of the Kestrel vehicle. “The bio-composite material adds a unique look and feel to the interior; it can be left raw, so the natural fibers are visible, covered in vinyl paint film, or wrapped in fabric to provide the purchaser additional customization.”
The bio-composite is made from hemp mats produced by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (AITF, Edmonton, Alberta) from hemp stock grown in Vegreville, Alberta.
The goal is to achieve the same mechanical properties as glass fiber composites while achieving a reduction in weight. According to Dr. John Wolodko at AITF, bio-composites are becoming more popular due to their low cost and light weight. “Natural materials such as hemp can offer a green and sustainable alternative to conventional fibers used in composites.”