Less than two months after teasing an operational hoverboard nicknamed “Slide,” Lexus has finally released details, images and a video for this sci-fi mode of transportation. Through the use of magnetic levitation and a specially built skate park, the Lexus hoverboard is finally a reality. More impressive, it took just 18 months to create.
The hoverboard is made possible through the use of liquid-nitrogen-cooled superconductors and permanent magnets, and it hovers over a hidden track built into the floor of the custom skate park located in Cubelles, Barcelona. The existence of a track means that the hoverboard is only able to operate in limited areas, but it can still travel over water, grind down a hand rail and jump over a 2016 Lexus GS F. Lexus didn’t say how much it spent to build the hoverboard or skate park, but I’m sure it wasn’t cheap.
Professional skateboarder Ross McGouran was the Guinea pig for the hoverboard demo, and the accompanying video shows just how difficult this sucker is to ride. After riding the hoverboard, McGouran said: “I’ve spent 20 years skateboarding, but without friction it feels like I’ve had to learn a whole new skill, particularly in the stance and balance in order to ride the hoverboard. It’s a whole new experience.”
Why it matters
It still isn’t clear what a hoverboard – or maglev technology – has to do with the future of luxury cars, but Lexus says the whole point of the project was to push the boundaries of technology, design and innovation “to make the impossible possible.” Mission accomplished.
Following the unveiling of the Lexus Hoverboard in June, the luxury automotive company is completing a full and final reveal of the project concluding a successful testing phase which took place in Cubelles, Barcelona.
Lexus Officially Unveils The Hoverboard
Mark Templin, Executive Vice President at Lexus International said: “Embarking on this project, we set out to push the boundaries of technology, design and innovation to make the impossible possible. With this project we call ‘SLIDE’, we collaborated with partners who share our passion for creating enjoyment out of motion. Even through combining our technology and expertise, we discovered making a hoverboard isn’t an easy process. We’ve experienced the highs and lows and have overcome a few challenges, but through mutual determination we have created a demonstration of our philosophy in design and technology to create Amazing in Motion.”
The Lexus Hoverboard project began 18 months ago through a collaboration with a team of scientists from IFW Dresden and evico GmbH, who specialize in magnetic levitation technology. Following extensive testing with pro skateboarder and hoverboard test rider Ross McGouran, in Dresden, Germany, the team were determined to push the hoverboard to its limits and conduct further tests within dynamic surroundings.
“I’ve spent 20 years skateboarding, but without friction it feels like I’ve had to learn a whole new skill, particularly in the stance and balance in order to ride the hoverboard. It’s a whole new experience,” said pro skateboarder and hoverboard test rider Ross McGouran.
Since the Lexus Hoverboard was unveiled in June, testing has been carried out in a specially constructed hoverpark, combining elements from skate culture with technology within its architecture. Up to 200 meters of magnetic track was transported to Barcelona from the Dresden facility to lay beneath the hoverpark surface in order to create the dynamic test, offering Lexus the opportunity to demonstrate tricks no skateboard could ever perform, like travelling across water. Lexus has captured the final ride footage and released it as a film led by award winning director Henry-Alex Rubin.
Lexus Officially Unveils The Hoverboard
The Lexus Hoverboard technology features 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.”
The Lexus Hoverboard film called “SLIDE” features the high performance GS F and is part of the fourth project in the Lexus “Amazing in Motion” campaign series that showcases creativity and innovation from the Lexus brand.