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January 21, 2010

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Getting your car culture fix

MANY auto buffs dream of designing their dream car, and some want to get under the hood and see how it all fits together.

Now they can do just that in the recently opened Automobile Discovery Pavilion of the Shanghai Auto Museum in Jiading District's Auto City.

The pavilion on the third floor is the museum's third themed section, after the History Pavilion and Classic Car Pavilion.

Exhibits, videos, pictures and interactive programs will demonstrate how technology is used in modern transport and the entire process of auto manufacturing will be on display. Visitors can take in the many innovations for future cars. Car culture and the driving experience will be featured.

The 2,000-square-meter Discovery Pavilion contains three sections: basic knowledge, design and manufacturing and entertainment.

Around 10 cars are displayed. More than 20 interactive programs explain details of auto manufacturing, power and new energy sources, safety and the future of driving.

Visitors can be car designers, manufacturing engineer, driving instructors and even race car drivers.

"Compared with museums using standard exhibitions and videos, the Discovery Pavilion puts more emphasis on creativity, and visitors can take part in many games and programs to get in-depth information and experience it directly," says Zhu Jichao, an official of the Shanghai Auto Museum.

In the pavilion's entrance hall, hundreds of auto parts are suspended in the air, as if from an explosion.

A fuel-consumption calculator lets visitors see the mileage and greenhouse gas emissions produced by different fuels - gasoline, diesel, electricity, solar power, hydrogen, biofuel and others.

Visitors can compare the performance of cars running at 100 kilometers per hour, each powered by a different fuel. The factory and assembly line section shows the entire procedure through videos depicting each stage of production, until the car rolls off the assembly line and is tested.

Visitors can design their own vehicles on a screen, choosing function, body size, passenger numbers, color and other specifications. Then the dream car pops up on the screen.

The Discovery Pavilion also features Carrera racing circuits and racing games.

The colorful design, range of knowledge and interactive programs appeal to young adults as well as teenagers.

The Shanghai Auto Museum is on track to be China's first dedicated auto museum, officials say.

Tens of thousands of people have visited the museum since it opened in January 2007.

The History Pavilion exhibits more than 20 cars to show the development of the auto from horse-drawn cart to green fuel-efficient car of the future, even space cars. It has nine sections and covers the development of China's auto industry.

Visitors can see a three-wheel loader Benz, considered the first car in the world, the first mass-produced vehicle, the Ford Model T, and the first car produced in China, a Red Flag CA72 premier sedan.

Iconic cars such as the VW Beetle, Rolls Royce and Cadillac are on display.

The Collector Car Pavilion on the second floor shows more than 40 models produced by 22 brands. There are Benz, Porshe, Ferraris and other famous names.

"Each classic car not only represents the technologies, artistic feeling and social environment of an age, but also tells the relationship between cars and people through its diverse body design and innovative technologies," says Zhu.

Shanghai Auto Museum

Opening hours: Tuesdays-Sundays, 9:30am-4:30pm (No admission after 4pm)

Address: 7565 Boyuan Rd, Anting Town, Jiading District

Tel: 6955-0055

Tickets: 60 yuan


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