The Canadian Science and Technology Museum
now boasts the Midnight Sun VIII Solar
Race Car, which is on display as part of the “In Search of the Canadian Car” exhibit.
The car, on loan
from the University
of Waterloo, was built by
a team of 30 university students competing in the American Solar Challenge in
2005. The completely solar-powered car can reach a speed of 110 km per hour and
when fully charged can run for close to two hours in the dark.
Curator of the
transportation collection and research at the museum, Suzanne Beauvais said
this type of display is a great way to promote teamwork, technology and the
need for renewable energy.
“We hope kids
visiting the exhibit will be interested in the science and to promote the
awareness of reusable energy,” Beauvais said.
Beauvais added that this particular car, with an
array of eight square-metre solar panels all along the surface of the vehicle, is
the most triumphant attempt from Canada at the American challenge.
university students have been the most successful in Canada to produce a solar-powered
car,” she said.
The car is the
eighth model made. The model before won the Guinness World Record for the solar
car that took the longest trip, lasting 40 days on just solar power.
This car is just one
of the many interesting cars on display at the exhibit, which includes the
first and only car developed by Canada Cycle and Motor Company (CCM). The
company, which now focuses on hockey equipment and bicycles, made the
automobile at the start of the automobile revolution and called it the Russell
Motor Car. It was developed from 1904 to 1916 by Thomas Russell and production
ended during the First World War.
There is also the first car ever developed in Canada – a steam car, built in
believes the car exhibit offers people a chance to look at both the history and
development of technology but also at the changes in culture and communities.
“Cars are really a
part of us. Before you are born, your mother needs to be driven to the
hospital, you wait and wait until you turn 16 to get your license and then when
you grow up and need a car for your first job – they are really a part of our
life,” Beauvais said.
When it comes to the
cultural importance for museum goers, the exhibit has a new addition thanks to
The rock and roll singer donated his 1965 Thunderbird to the museum.
The car, one the
museum did not have until the award-winning song writer offered it, will be a
piece of the exhibit that showcases the cultural impact a vehicle can have on
“Culture really goes
together with science when it comes to our Canadian cars,” Beauvais said.
The curator has a
hard time picking her favourite car of all time, but admits she is a fan of a certain
Town & Country Chrysler convertible in the museum’s archives.
The 1965 Thunderbird and all the other great automobile designs and cars
Canadians have built are on display in the Search for the Canadian Car. The
solar powered car is located at the “Just Around the Corner” exhibit.
Ottawa this Week - East edition