Thanks to magnets, these cars float above the road at great speed | Mobility

Chinese researchers are testing cars that float just above the road surface using magnets. There are already many trains in China that move this way. Floating cars will be economical, clean and cheap – and save tires.


Eric Koenhoven


Last updated:
11:25

In Jiangsu Province in eastern China, employees of Southwest Jiaotong University have built a highway equipped with electric railways for this purpose. Vehicles traveling on it float about 3.5 cm above the road surface due to the application of magnets to the vehicle floor. This was reported by the state news agency Xinua.

The first tests are mainly aimed at demonstrating feasibility and aiming to discover how to design route planning and safety measures. A total of eight cars were used in the tests on the almost eight-kilometer route. Five of them are purely electric.

Fly over the road at 200 km/h

All vehicles were traveling at a speed of about 200 kilometers per hour. The top speed is set at 230. The test video shows that the technology is still in an early stage of development. The car, which by the way weighs about 2.8 tons due to the numerous magnets, does not move smoothly on the track.

According to the university, the technology could increase the range of vehicles in the future, make traffic safer and prevent traffic jams. In addition, it will extend the life of vehicles and reduce wear, especially on tires. In the end, the researchers say, it also costs less energy.

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Because the cars float a few centimeters above the road surface, the tires do not wear out. © Southwest Jiaotong University

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