Lexus Creates an NX with Ice Wheels
When it comes to driving on ice, the Japanese carmaker Lexus seems to have thrown caution to the wind. Its new one-off model literally has wheels made of ice.
The company has fitted one of its NX compact crossovers with a working set of wheels and tires made from ice. Why? Lexus commissioned the project in an attempt to highlight the craftmanship that goes into building its vehicles.
The tires were created in London by a team of four ice sculpting experts from Hamilton Ice Sculptors, a 35-year-old business that specializes in creating large-scale ice and snow installations. Digital designs for the real wheels of the Lexus NX Hybrid were sent to the ice sculpture team, who then used a combination of laser cutting and hand carving to create the replicas.
“Being a sculptor, it’s about having a good silhouette, bold detail,” explained Jack Hackney, one of the sculptors who worked on the project, in a behind-the-scenes video released by Lexus. “Which is why these wheels are brilliant, because the shape of the rim on the car is a very strong, bold and geometric shape, so it really comes out in ice.”
In-wheel LED lighting adds an extra glowing dimension to the crystal clear wheels.
Giant blocks of ice were created using water taken from a moving flow to ensure it was perfectly clear. Based on a laser scan of the NX’s real car parts, the sculptors replicated the tires and wheels. They managed to capture even the smallest of details, such as the tires’ tread patterns.
Each ice wheel took a whopping 36 hours to make. The wheels were reinforced with perspex to make sure the ice could actually hold the weight of the car, which weighs nearly 2 tons.
The car itself was stored at -30°C for five days before it was taken out of a chilled garage and driven, rather gingerly, in a controlled space. While the car only travelled at a walking pace, it is not clear what the stopping distance for the vehicle might be with its icy treads.
Lexus says that the feat took three months of research, design, and testing to achieve.
Stay tuned for more interesting innovations from Lexus. In the meantime, come into Lexus of Highland Park and take one of our newest models for a test drive!