Motopia? Past Future Visions 

National Motor Museum Beaulieu, England

Up to April 14th, 2024

The term Motopia was created in 1959 by British architect Geoffrey Alan Jellicoe as the place where vehicles and humans would coexist in harmony. But as early as the turn of the 20th century, another visionary, John Scott Montagu, predicted fast roads connecting cities. The National Automobile Museum of Beaulieu revisits the visions of mobility and offers an immersive journey through 130 years of reflections on automobility.

The Motopia exhibition explores how this has influenced what we drive, the nature of our cities, the way we work and socialize. Discover some of the radical automotive concepts of the past that remain relevant today and bold visions for both the vehicles and the environment in which they would operate. Motopia explores 4 main areas, vehicle vision, propulsion modes, architecture and urban solutions. Each generation has imagined its visions of future vehicles. Concepts have included autonomous vehicles or flying cars and there have been many innovations for mechanical systems, body shapes and layouts.

As we face a revolution in the way we power our vehicles, much of what we consider revolutionary today is an old idea that is only finding its place. Moving away from the internal combustion engine in favor of electric power, or other alternatives such as hydrogen, gas turbine, steam or hybrid technology, what will power the future? The car has also often shaped architects’ dreams of how to live today and tomorrow, with science fiction visions where transportation systems mingle with high-rise buildings.

In addition, urban environments require vehicle designs that take into account the challenges of the city and the needs of all city users. Can motor vehicles coexist in harmony with pedestrians? Can the past offer a glimpse of what else could be?

The photos on this page belong to National Motor Museum Beaulieu, no right of reproduction without the express permission of the museum.