‘Powering the Future’ at America’s Car Museum

Want to know how long it would take to drive a Tesla to LA and back? A new lab at LeMay — America’s Car Museum’s newest exhibit aims to teach guests how feasible it would be to travel by car using alternative fuels throughout the U.S. The interactive learning lab exhibit — ‘Powering the Future’ — is a partnership between LeMay — ACM, Puget Sound Energy, and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

In addition to a huge collection of cars that run on things other than petroleum products, the 5,000-square-foot exhibit features interactive labs that teach guests about the many past, present, and future alternative fuel sources for vehicles.

Students from Tacoma schools, including the Science and Math Institute (SAMI), the Industrial Design and Engineering Arts High School (IDEA) and the School of the Arts (SOTA), are volunteering to help man the interactive components of the exhibit and teach guests how many of these alternative fuels and technologies work or will work in the future.

“The Powering the Future learning lab is one of our boldest interactive exhibits yet, teaching students about a variety of power sources for cars of the past and into the future,” said America’s Automotive Trust CEO Adam Langsbard. “We embrace our responsibility to continually produce and promote STEM-related education for the next generation. We may, one day, be inspiring a future workforce for the auto industry by way of sparking interest in young people’s fascination with future technologies.”

Vehicles in the exhibit include a 1914 Detroit Electric that advertised being able to reliably drive up to 80 miles on a single charge. There is also a hydrogen fuel cell and electric-powered 2000 Hypercar that was less than half the weight of a regular vehicle and had extremely low emissions, a 2010 Honda Clarity, which ran on a hydrogen fuel cell, an assortment of modern electric and hybrid vehicles, and much more. For a full list of vehicles, click here.

“We’re excited to be partnering with America’s Car Museum to not only celebrate the history of the automobile but also where the industry is heading,” said PSE Vice President Andy Wappler. “PSE has committed to reducing its own carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2040, and by supporting innovation and things like ACM’s Powering the Future learning lab, we are helping to create a better energy future for all.”

Wappler also explained that half of all carbon output in Washington comes from drivers, both from commercial and personal vehicles. Drivers taking advantage of alternative fuel options, which typically have a lower carbon footprint, would be a positive step towards PSE’s goal.

Two events related to the new lab are coming up soon. On April 21, there is a Powering the Future Family Fun Day, and on May 5, teachers can attend the Full STEAM Ahead- Educator Training. For more information on the exhibit, check out the exhibit page.

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