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Motopia? Past Future Visions

Beaulieu’s National Motor Museum welcomes visionary vehicles.

A specially curated selection of innovative vehicles have taken their place at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu as part of a thought-provoking exhibition opening next weekend.

The vehicles will form one aspect of the Beaulieu museum’s headline exhibition called Motopia? Past Future Visions. The motor cars and electric scooter illustrate 130 years of future thinking about automobility and how each generation has created different imaginative visions for motor vehicles and how they are powered.

Motopia? Past Future Visions

The National Motor Museum’s Curator of Vehicles and Research, Patrick Collins says, “The exhibition illustrates how past generations have predicted the future of road transport and the urban environment. We are living in a period of great change, and this exhibition will open a discussion on what future decisions we need to make and how the past may influence them. The vehicles illustrate a century of alternative thinking in automotive design.”

Arrivals for the Beaulieu exhibition include:

  • Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz (1959) – an eye-catching luxury American car with distinctive futuristic looking styling, reflective of the post-war period of the space race of rockets and astronauts.
  • Columbia Electric (1901) – contrary to a commonly held belief, electric vehicles have existed since the late 19thcentury. This Columbia electric car was bought new by Queen Alexandra for use in the grounds of Sandringham House, Norfolk. It is one of a range of electric vehicles manufactured in the USA under the Columbia name and marketed in Britain by The City & Suburban Electric Carriage Co. of London.

  • BMW CE 04 (2023) – lauded as a masterpiece of style and engineering, this dramatic electric bike provides rapid, silent acceleration – and the slim design is suited to commuting through clogged urban traffic.
  • Volkswagen XL1 hybrid (2014) – a two-person, limited production diesel-powered plug-in hybrid produced by Volkswagen. It was made with lightweight materials, a streamlined body and an engine and transmission designed and tuned for economy.
  • IRIS eTrike® (2017) – described as the spiritual successor to the Sinclair C5 and developed by the nephew of Sir Clive Sinclair, Grant Sinclair. The world’s fastest, street legal electric bike includes a cooling system with an air purifier and is capable of reaching speeds of over 30 mph, travelling around 30 miles on a single charge. Its body design being inspired by aerodynamic helmets used for velodrome bike racing.

Motopia? Past Future Visions

  • Riversimple Rasa Alpha (2015) – an engineering prototype of a new range of hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles. The use of hydrogen fuel cells to provide electricity instead of batteries is one alternative to the internal combustion engine.

Opening on Saturday 20th May 2023, the exhibition will run until April 2024 at the world-renowned National Motor Museum located at Beaulieu in the New Forest, Hampshire.

The exhibition will have four key themes: vehicle visions will look at car design concepts, propulsion asking how our vehicles are powered – particularly timely when there is a resurgence of electric vehicles, architectural dreams will include science fiction visions, and urban solutions showing how vehicles have been constantly re-imagined to suit our needs and surroundings.

Motopia? Past Future Visions

Motopia? Past Future Visions is being sponsored by the UK’s leading vehicle leasing broker, Select Car Leasing, and the exhibition will be included in the admission ticket for the Beaulieu attraction.

Find more info:
National Motor Museum Events 
Beaulieu – Motopia

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