The idea of hover cars and hover boards that work by pushing against an installed metal grid or naturally occurring mineral veins in the ground is directly lifted from "Uglies" by Scott Westerfeld. It is a pretty neat concept, but the cloud labeled "then a miracle occurs" is a fairly sizable thunderhead. Other than the "car" that the couple sits in, this is certainly CG. I especially like the part where they take an elevated off-ramp - must be relying on the rebar mesh in the concrete as they would be pretty far from all those in-ground minerals up there. Also, I didn't see any seat belts. What do you think would happen if a car that's shaped like a hampster wheel and no saftey restrainst finds a 10 meter stretch of pavement that didn't have underlying "minerals"? I'm thinking "worlds roundest coffin" or "largest runaway tire".
The VW hover car is a concept that is about 500 years premature. It will obviously use a weak force generator, anti-gravity beam for levitation. Then for locomotion it would require interaction with say, the Earth's geomagnetic field. You'd have to keep the magnetic force low enough so it didn't dangerously attract nearby loose magnetic material like other vehicles! Acceleration would therfore be very, very slow.
Actually, the ideal hover craft would use, instead of complex collision avoidance electronics, the concept of additional graviton fields that would sense the approach of other objects and repel itself from them, essentially slowing down. Moving forward on the highway would be as simple as falling in line behind other moving traffic as though you were a bumper car. You'd join other traffic and couple magnetically or with graviton fields as car couplers in a long train.
The power plant would be a grapfruit sized fusion power reactor with direct conversion to electrical and gravitational energy. :-)
This is a work of fiction, not a real vehicle. Although, yes, it IS a concept.
Is it really ZERO EMISSIONS? No. That's either a lie by someone who knows better, or the ignorant utterance of an advertising wonk. The power has to come from somewhere, and wherever it's sourced, there are emissions.
Will it really just run on the roads in Chungdu? Canal water! The density of heavy metals cannot be high enough to enable this... besides which, the riches in exotic materials in the Chungdu area of Sechzuan are in mines, not on the surface.
There ARE maglev vehicles... trains above rails, in fact... and to have maglev cars, we'd have to have special roadways built.
But I have to hand it to Vee Dub... they've managed to prove PT Barnum right:
The idea of personal magnetically levitated hovercraft doesn't seem very practical. The greater the air-gap, the less efficient. Further, and probably of greater significance, the energy required to support the weight of the craft, in comparison to a wheel/bearing/axle suspended system (which would also be capable of use off the grid) seems wasteful. Maglev trains require a lot of precision alignment and maintenance but the high cost is offset by the utilization density.
This is all marketing hype and no real technology. Not something DesignNews should be reporting on. I'm starting to wonder how many of these "design news" articles aren't just advertisements presented with an engineering flavor to dupe us into reading them. How many more articles on 3D printing and Indy "tech" are there?
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