Lexus might be hovering into the future but that doesn’t mean it is hesitating. Earlier this summer, we brought you news that Toyota’s luxury brand is working on creating a Marty McFly worthy hoverboard.
Now the automaker is proving that a high speed hoverboard chase just might take place in the near future. It’s just released new video footage of what happens when its hoverboard hits the skatepark.
“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,” says Mark Templin, Executive Vice President at Lexus International.
Lexus and a special team of scientist began working on this project 18 months ago. For the testing phase, pro skateboarder Ross McGouran was enlisted to put the board through some paces.
“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,” says McGouran.
That zero friction hovering is created using special magnetic levitation technology that uses two “cryostats” reservoirs in which material is kept at 197 degrees with the use of liquid nitrogen in specially cooled superconductors.
The board relies on this magnetic technology in order to hover. This means that it is only able to operate above a track that contains permanent magnets. Lexus constructed just such a track in the form of a skatepark, complete with ramps, pipes, and even a water feature, for the hardcore final testing in Barcelona.
“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,” says Dr. Oliver de Haas, evico CEO.
The hoverboard is part of the Lexus Amazing in Motion project, which serves the purpose of showcasing the automakers innovation, creativity, and technological advances. As such, it is currently only a prototype and is unlikely to be going on sale anytime soon.