Lexus has been making a name for itself as one of those companies that does some pretty outlandish things. Let’s face it, it designed that weird electroluminescent paint that picks up and pulses with a driver’s heartbeat, then there is the Lexus hoverboard, and let’s not forget about the laser and sound show they put together with will-i-am. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Lexus decided to take it one step further. This time, the company put a Lexus NX on wheels made of ice.
Go ahead and read that last sentence again, I really did say the automaker put a NX crossover on ice. Lexus didn’t do the deed all by itself, though. It enlisted the help of Hamilton Ice Sculptors to sculpt and create four special wheels made primarily of ice and a couple of other compounds to help the ice support the weight of the two-ton NX.
In the end, it took three months of research, design and testing before the project was complete. And, that Lexus NX had to be stored for almost a week at -30°C (-22°F,) before taking to the street of its “ice-wheel run.” We don’t know how long the car was actually driven, but it did take to the streets of London, looking like it had just emerged from the coldest icebox imaginable. Check out the two linked videos for yourself, it is pretty cool to see. Those blue LED lights give a bit flair to the already interesting project.
Why it matters
So why does something like this really matter? Well, for useful intentions, it really doesn’t. There is no way we can actually use wheels and tires made of ice – for one; there would be no traction, and two, who wants such a rough ride offered by a solid wheel. Not to mention the fact that most of us don’t live in a climate where it’s cold enough for the wheels to stay frozen all of the time.
On the other side of the spectrum, Lexus is on a mission of “creating amazing,” and needless to say, this is a first in the realm of wheel and tire development. At the end of the day, it is a very cool project, and I’m sure it is great for PR, but unless we start sending Lexus vehicles to the other planets in the solar system, I’m not sure the whole ice wheel and tire thing is going to kick off anytime soon.
Lexus NX – First Drive
True to its mission of “creating amazing” and inspired by the craftsmanship that goes into every vehicle it makes, Lexus commissioned a team of ice sculpture specialists to explore how ice could be used in place of conventional alloy metal and rubber.
After three months’ research, design and testing, the finished wheels were fitted to a Lexus NX for the ultimate ice drive. The car itself was deep-frozen, stored for five days at -30°C (it started first time) before being driven off down a London road.
The addition of in-wheel LED lighting added an extra dramatic dimension to the cutting-edge contemporary styling of the NX.