The Mana La Solar Car
The vehicle was built in 1987 in Hawaii by a team of environmental philanthropists including founders John Paul DeJoria and Paul Mitchell.
The Mana La is powered by electricity generated when light strikes the photovoltaic cells that cover most of the surface of the body. The innovative vehicle also made use of an arched-wing that was both aerodynamically efficient, harnessing the wind’s power to help propel it forward, and allowed the solar cells to be placed to maximize energy output regardless of the position of the sun. These advanced features enabled the ultra lightweight racer to reach a top speed of 85 miles per hour and made it a strong competitor in the first World Solar Challenge in 1988, a 3,000 kilometer (km) race from Darwin to Adelaide, Australia.
The Mana La joins the Petersen’s wide ranging variety of vehicles in its collection including numerous other green technology vehicles. The Museum’s Alternative Power Gallery includes vehicles such as the 1996 GM EV1 and the 1963 Chrysler Turbine, as well as others powered by electricity, solar, fuel cells, steam, and even wood or coal. The Mana La currently resides in a single vehicle exhibit space called, "What Will They Think of Next?" The forward-thinking exhibit ties the Museum’s first floor Streetscape (a walk-through diorama of California’s rich automotive history) together with the Alternative Power Gallery seen as visitors first enter the second floor.
The Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity. The Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard (at Fairfax) in Los Angeles. Admission prices are $10 for general admission adults, $5 for seniors and students with ID, and $3 for children ages 5 to 12. Museum members and children under five are admitted free. Covered parking is available for $2 per half hour with an $8 maximum for Museum visitors. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm. For general Museum information, call 323-930-CARS or visit the Museum’s Web site at: www.petersen.org.
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