There was a lot of online chatter about Lexus‘ hoverboard being a marketing trick, but it’s real and it works. Lexus showed off the impressively cool hoverboard at a specially constructed “hoverpark” near Barcelona, Spain.
The problem is that you can’t have one, not so much because the hoverboard itself isn’t feasible, but mainly because it utilizes magnetic levitation, or maglev, to hover a few inches above the ground without any friction, and that requires the surface it will be used on to be outfitted with magnets. That’s not very practical nor affordable.
The board measures 920mm long, 22mm wide and 90mm tall, and can carry weights of up to 200kg or 440 pounds. It levitates over the magnetic surface thanks to superconductors fitted inside the body which are cooled down to 197°C through immersion in liquid nitrogen – that’s the ‘smoke’ you see coming out of the board.
Lexus didn’t do the work alone as it joined forces with a team of German scientists from IFW Dresden and evico GmbH who specialize in magnetic levitation technology – so, in other words, it relied on German tech and knowhow to promote the brand’s design and innovation against –let’s face it- it’s German automotive rivals. Kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think?
As we read over at Bloomberg, besides the fact that Maglev isn’t a new technology since we’ve seen it implemented on magnetic levitation trains, this isn’t the first time it’s been used for a hoverboard either. American startup Arx Pax raised more than $500,000 last year through a Kickstarter campaign for its Hendo Hoverboard that makes use of batteries that last 10 to 15 minutes after an hour or two of charging.