Canada’s Motive Industries grabbed some headlines last month, when it announced that the body of its soon-to-be-unveiled Kestrel EV was made from a hemp-based bio-composite material. Not only are its panels impact-resistant, but bio-composites in general are said to be lighter, less expensive and/or more ecologically-sustainable than conventional composites. At the time of the announcement, the car’s appearance was being kept under wraps. As part of this week’s Vancouver EV 2010 VÉ Conference and Trade Show, however, all was revealed.

The Kestrel is a three-door four-passenger car, although it’s designed with city drivers in mind, who are typically either driving alone or with one other passenger. The car has a short front end and very forward-placed front wheels, resulting in a cab-forward design that should help it maneuver in crowded city streets. The design is facilitated by a somewhat unusual door hinge line that extends right into the front wheel well.

There are no details available yet on the Kestrel’s motor, although we’re told it will be powered by a 16 kWh lithium battery, with a range of 160 km (99 miles) and a top speed of 135 km/h (84 mph). The total estimated vehicle weight is 850 kg (1,874 lbs).

Motive is the co-founder of Project Eve, a consortium of Canadian companies promoting the design and production of EVs in Canada. It is hoped that production of the Kestrel will begin in 2012.

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