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Fuelled by Innovation

Exhibit of vehicles running on alternative fuel solutions

Explore the world of alternative fuel vehicles. Some are homegrown in Saskatchewan; others came from beyond our borders. From the practical to the fanciful, all reflect a spirit of innovation.

Connect past to present as you discover that many of today’s innovations are rooted in yesterday’s ideas.

Rauch & Lang Electric Car

In 1911, the Rauch & Lang electric coupe was billed as a ladies car, the latest in luxury. Some models came decked out with crystal bud vases. The driver steered with a tiller bar instead of a steering wheel.

Make and Model: Rauch & Lang Electric
Model Year: 1911
Production Location: Detroit, Michigan
Fuel type: Electricity
Seating Capacity: 4
Weight: Unknown
Max speed: 18 ½ mph
Steering: Tiller bar

U of S Supermileage Car – Tensor

Thirteen hundred miles per gallon? University of Saskatchewan engineering students set a North American record for fuel efficiency with Tensor, their 1982 entry in the Society of Automotive Engineers Supermileage competition in Marshall, Michigan. This was the third time the U of S took top honours with more wins to follow.

Make and Model: U of S supermileage vehicle prototype 
Model Year: 
1982
Production Location: 
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Fuel type:
Gasoline
Seating Capacity: 1
Weight: 45 kg
Body: Aluminum, Saran
Max speed: Unknown
Max km/L: 461

Gofer EV

Saskatoon’s PapaBravo Innovations prototype Gofer electric vehicle (EV) rounds out the exhibit. Built in 2010 for the potash industry, the EV proved so successful that it sparked a new business and by 2013 all Saskatchewan potash companies were using PapaBravo Evs in their underground operations.

Make and Model: PapaBravo Innovations Gofer EV
Model Year: 2010
Production Location: Saskatoon, SK
Fuel type: Lithium iron phosphate batteries
Seating capacity: 4
Weight: Unknown

Wind Car

In the 1970s, using a Volkswagen chassis, windmill parts and wind scoops made from oil drums, one clever Saskatchewan farm boy cobbled together a vehicle powered by the wind. A stiff breeze propelled it about as fast as a person could walk.

Make and Model: homemade
Model Year: 1970s
Production Location: Tonkin, Saskatchewan
Fuelled Type: Wind
Seating Capacity: 1
Max speed: at least 3.5 km/h (brisk walking speed)
Weight: unknown
Body: VW Beetle chassis
Engine Type: none. The wind car has no motor or engine, the turning blades power its moving parts rather than steam or internal combustion.

Straw Gas Car

Heads turned on an August day in 1918 as a car with a giant gas bag suspended overhead made its way from the University of Saskatchewan to downtown Saskatoon. Two professors were out for a test drive in a 1918 McLaughlin touring car powered by straw gas. The WDM has re-created the professors’ experimental car for this exhibit.

Brooks Steamer

You’ve heard of steam-powered tractors. What about a steam car, or perhaps a steam bicycle? In 1926, a Brooks Steamer rolled out of the Stratford, Ontario factory. Equipped with a quick-starting flash boiler, the Brooks was ready to go in about ten minutes.

Make and Model: Brooks Steamer
Model Year: 1926
Production Location: Stratford, Ontario
Fuel Type: Water / kerosene
Seating Capacity: 5
Max speed: 56km/h
Weight: 1724 kg
Body: Composite fabric (Meritas)

Electrek

Did you know that Saskatchewan Power tested a Denver-built electric car in the early 1980s? Sixteen lead-acid batteries provided the power. But in the dead of winter when the driver had to choose between power for the motor or power for the heater, testing came to a standstill.

Make and Model: Electrek
Model Year: 1981
Production Location: Denver, Colorado
Fuelled by: 16 six volt lead-acid batteries
Seating Capacity: 5
Max speed: +100 km/h
Weight: 3350 lbs
Body: fiberglass reinforced plastic
Engine Type: 23.9 kW electric moto

Steam Bicycle

Nearly 60 years after the Brooks steam powered car, Saskatoon’s Bob Grosse accepted a friend’s challenge to build a steam bike. Bob’s bike was just one reflection of his love of steam. He used an old bicycle and an engine he designed and built from scratch.

Make and Model: homemade
Model Year: 1981
Production Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Fuelled by: Steam, propane
Seating Capacity: 1
Max speed: Unknown
Weight: Unknown
Body: Bicycle

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