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Imagination + a Little Movie Magic = a Volkswagen Hover Car Silently Navigating City Streets [Video]

Part 1

Part 2

A year ago, Volkswagen in China launched a marketing campaign called The People’s Car Project (PCP), which invited Chinese customers to submit ideas for cars of the future. Participants were able to tinker with designs on a Web site that Volkswagen set up for that purpose, or they could upload their own designs. Wang Jia, a student and resident of Chengdu in the country’s Sichuan province, chose the latter, envisioning a two-person environmentally-friendly hover car.

Jia sent sketches of a levitating car that could be maneuvered easily in a downtown setting, says Simon Loasby, head of design at Volkswagen Group China. The VW team rounded out the design. “We put a concept together, including a video depicting how it would function,” he adds. “It was the ultimate in dreaming because a full-scale version of the car doesn’t exist.”

The imaginary car stays aloft with the aid of magnetic levitation, much the way some maglev trains travel along special rails using electromagnetic suspension. (Other maglev trains use electromagnetic forces for propulsion without actually lifting the train off the ground.) The Shanghai Maglev Train has been ferrying passengers since 2004 on a 30-kilometer line between Pudong International Airport and the city’s outskirts at speeds of up to 430 kilometers per hour. Magnets on board and in the track lift the train between eight and 12 millimeters, depending on how much electrical current is used.


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