The hoverboard – which was first unveiled in June via a teaser film – has been 18 months in development through a collaboration between scientists from IFW Dresden and Evico GmbH, which specialise in magnetic levitation technology. 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 Hass, CEO of Evico, said the technology enabled the hoverboard rider to carry out a variety of stunts and tricks. “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,” he said.
“This force is strong enough to allow the rider to stand and even jump on the board.” Pro skateboarder and Lexus hoverboard test rider Ross McGouran tested the hoverboard in Dresden and then among the dynamic surroundings of Lexus’ purpose-built hoverpark in Barcelona. The final reveal film, which was directed by award-winning director Henry-Alex Rubin, shows McGouran riding the hoverboard at the Lexus hoverpark and completing numerous manoeuvres, including a jump over Lexus’ forthcoming GS F V8 high performance sedan.
McGouran said riding the Lexus hoverboard was unique. “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,” he said. “It’s a whole new experience.”
The Lexus hoverpark combines elements from skate culture with technology within its architecture. Up to 200m of magnetic track was transported from Dresden to Barcelona to lay beneath the hoverpark to create the dynamic test, offering Lexus the opportunity to demonstrate tricks no skateboarder could perform, such as travelling across water.
Mark Templin, executive vice-president at Lexus International, said the Lexus hoverboard project epitomised the brand’s focus on innovative design and technology. “Embarking on this project, we set out to push the boundaries of technology ogy, design and innovation to make the impossible possible.
“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,” Templin said.