Lexus Demonstrates Hoverboard Capabilities in New Short Film
Hoverboards are real and we have Lexus to thank for it. As part of their “Amazing in Motion” campaign to showcase creativity, design excellence and innovation from the Lexus brand, the automaker collaborated with a team of scientists from IFW Dresden and evico GmbH to make our cultural fantasy a reality.
It took 18 months of intensive work to finalize the new Lexus Hoverboard technology, which combines a bamboo housing with liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors and permanent magnets to lift the board above a magnetized ground. It’s basically a miniature maglev train that you can take on a skateboard ramp.
Here’s the rundown: two “cryostats” – reservoirs in which superconducting material is kept at -197 degrees through immersion in liquid nitrogen. The board is then placed above a track that contains permanent magnets. Dr. Oliver de Haas, evico CEO, said: “The magnetic field from the track is effectively ‘frozen’ into the superconductors in the board, maintaining the distance between the board and the track – essentially keeping the board hovering. This force is strong enough to allow the rider to stand and even jump on the board.”
Since the Lexus Hoverboard was unveiled in June, testing has been carried out in a specially-designed hoverpark in Barcelona. Over 200 meters of magnetic track was laid beneath the hoverpark surface in order to create a dynamic test, which was captured in a short film directed by Henry-Alex Rubin featuring professional skateboarder Ross McGouran.
The film shows McGouran performing tricks he’d never be able to pull off on a skateboard including travelling across water. “I’ve spent 20 years skateboarding, but without friction it feels like I’ve had to learn a whole new skill,” McGouran said in a statement on Lexus’ website. Overcoming the learning curve was definitely worth it – watching McGouran hover over the surface of the water is mesmerizing.
The learning curve also extended to the feat of engineering it took to make the hoverboard functional. The company’s global brand leader, Yolande Waldock, told Bloomberg that the project was almost shelved multiple times because of its difficulty.
Don’t hold your breath for a consumer model any time soon, though. Unfortunately the Lexus Hoverboard is just a prototype and it’s not for sale. As it stands, the model McGouran rides in the short film is essentially priceless. When asked, Waldock refused to even venture a guess on the hoverboard’s sticker price. “You can’t actually even put a figure on it. It’s impossible to put a figure on it,” she said.
So you can’t currently own a hoverboard – so what? Lexus has plenty of other innovative toys for the modern consumer to enjoy. Stop by Lexus of Highland Park today to bring some fun into your life.