Disneyland’s Autopia Is Going Electric

autopia line
(American Cars And Racing)
autopia line
(American Cars And Racing)

It is a vision of the future that’s been stuck in the past.

Disneyland’s Autopia ride is one of the original attractions from when the park opened on July 17, 1955.

The Tomorrowland staple was meant to preview the superhighways that would crisscross the country in the coming years, and featured gas-powered open carts that drove along a raised track that helps them in their lanes as the driver steers.

Speeds have been kept below seven miles per hour over the years while bumpers mounted to giant shocks help protect the cars and their passengers in the stop-and-go traffic that often occurs, much like the real world.

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autopia track
(American Cars And Racing)

The ride was last updated in 2016 when the cars were freshened up and given new single-piston Honda motors that are rated at 8.4 hp, but still run on gasoline. They also feature Honda logos and production car paint colors as part of a 10-year sponsorship.

Whether thanks to or in spite of its throwback feel, the ride continues to be popular and often sees lines longer than an hour.

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Now the park tells the Los Angeles Times that it is planning for a full redesign.

“Since opening with Disneyland park in 1955, Autopia has remained a guest-favorite most popular with young kids experiencing driving for the first time,” spokesperson Jessica Good told the outlet.

“As the industry moves toward alternative fuel sources, we have developed a roadmap to electrify this attraction and are evaluating technology that will enable us to convert from gas engines in the next few years.”

autopia pits
(American Cars And Racing)

Disney didn’t provide further details or say if similar attractions in Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris would be updated in concert.

There were rumors a few years ago that Autopia was going to be updated with help from Tesla, but Disney denied them at the time.

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Developing electric vehicles is easy enough, but the challenge is how to power them for thousands of rides each day. Rechargeable batteries could slow the throughput of guests, while connecting them to electrified tracks could be dangerous and might not seem very futuristic.

One option that could fit the bill would be an inductive charging system, like that being tested for use on highways with electric road cars.

The recently revealed Chrysler Halcyon concept was designed with a Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer system that has been deployed on a test track in Italy.

When asked for comment, Honda wouldn’t confirm if it is collaborating with Disneyland on the new project, but said it was actively involved with Autopia today and that “Honda is working toward its global goal of carbon neutrality for all its business activities by 2050 and plans to make battery-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles represent 100% of auto sales by 2040. This includes working closely with our partners to ensure our carbon neutrality goals align.”