Since retiring from his gig as host of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno has kept himself busy by focusing on his love of automobiles. In addition to tending to his own massive collection of rare and expensive cars and motorcycles, Leno has a weekly show that airs on CNBC called Jay Leno’s Garage devoted to his favorite hobby.
On a recent episode of the show, Leno took a spin in a 2017 Renew sports car. What makes the Renew interesting is that it was designed by former Dell executive Bruce Dietzen with a body and upholstery made from 100 pounds of woven cannabis hemp. According to CNBC, the Renew is close to its goal of being “carbon neutral” to produce because the variety of cannabis plants that produce industrial hemp take a lot of carbon from the air while they grow, thus negating any carbon emitted during the vehicle’s manufacture. Given that the average car emits close to 10 tons of carbon into the atmosphere during production, bringing that number down to zero is a pretty big deal.
The woven hemp fibers are also incredibly strong. In the video, Jay Leno and Dietzen take turns banging as hard as they can on the hood of the car to try and make a dent, to no avail. The woven hemp body of the Renew is actually 10 times stronger than steel, which prompts a joke from Leno before they take the car out for a spin.
“Maybe we’ll hit a couple of cars and see what happens,” Leno said. “Then we’ll really see how strong it is.”
— Jay Leno’s Garage (@LenosGarage) July 20, 2017
According to The Drive, the Renew is not the first car made from cannabis. In 1941, Henry Ford actually designed a car that Ford historians believe was made partially from industrial hemp. Bruce Dietzen took Ford’s research and expanded on and modernized the idea, investing $200,000 of his own money into the project.
And no, Dietzen was not high when he came up with the idea to make a car out of cannabis. He doesn’t even smoke the stuff and the species of cannabis used to make the Renew is not psychoactive. His motivation is purely environmental. According to the Miami Herald, Bruce Dietzen is also heavily involved in research into alternative fuels.
— 420Headline (@420Headline) July 22, 2017
The Renew comes in three basic options, depending on how fast or eco-friendly the buyer prefers. There is a 225-horsepower model which starts at $40,000, a high-speed, 525-horsepower model, and the hybrid electric Canna EV, which can run as low as 80 horsepower.
Watch Jay Leno and Bruce Dietzen take the Renew cannabis car for a drive in the clip below.