We've seen numerous electric vehicle startups come and go over the years, but few came out of the gate with a product as attractive--in a cute, cuddly way--as the Motive Industries Kestrel EV. The performance it promises is also solid for its intended city-car market.

With a curb weight just under 1,900 pounds, range estimated at 100 miles from a 16 kWh lithium battery pack, and a top speed of 84 mph, the Kestrel EV should prove more than up to the challenge of the daily urban grind. Seating for four (though it looks like it will be tight if they're all adults) ups the practicality factor further.

Motive Industries takes the green idea behind electric vehicles to heart in more than the drivetrain, too. Using a hemp-based composite for the body, the company says the Kestrel EV is more ecologically sustainable, impact-resistant, lighter, and less expensive than it would be if made from carbon fiber or other composite materials.

Not to mention it could provide hours of entertainment for the occupants should you find yourself stranded by the roadside and in need of some relief from "range anxiety." Oh, wait, no, it's made of hemp. That's the rope-making one. For more in that vein, don't miss Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield's piece on Canada's "pot car" over at AllCarsElectric.

Though it's a four-passenger car, Motive says the Kestrel is targeted mostly at city drivers who are usually alone or only have one passenger in the car. The cab-forward design maximizes interior space despite the short wheelbase, but physics puts limit on how big it can really be.

As for when, if ever, the Kestrel will reach actual production, that depends on how well Project Eve, a consortium of Canadian companies intent on bringing EVs to the snowy north, comes together. Currently Motive plans to have the prototype built by the end of 2011, with production to start in 2012 to secure certification and start retail sales in late 2012.

[Motive Industries]