Flying cars have only existed in science fiction for years. Several attempts have been made to overcome this mechanical impossibility and build one in reality. This dream may be a little closer to coming true, and this could shape how we commute, work, and live for decades to come.
According to China’s state news agency Xinhua, Chinese researchers at Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, Sichuan province, conducted road tests last week for modified passenger cars that use magnets to float 35 millimeters above a power rail.
A #maglev vehicle technology test saw a 2.8-ton car hover 35 millimeters above the road and drive on a highway in #Jiangsu, East China. A permanent magnet array was installed for levitation. pic.twitter.com/7vWc8TvJpn
— QinduoXu (@QinduoXu) September 12, 2022
In other words, the experimental vehicle uses magnetic levitation (maglev) technology.
The researchers placed eight sedans with strong magnets on the vehicle floors and tested them along an 8 km rail.
Surprisingly, one of the eight cars reached a speed of 230 km per hour.
In a video posted by a Chinese journalist, the cars can occasionally be seen floating around the track.
According to Xinhua, the government transportation authorities conducted the experiments to investigate safety measures when driving at high speed. However, according to Deng Zigang, a university professor who worked on the development of the vehicles, using magnetic levitation for passenger cars could lead to lower energy consumption and longer range.
That could help with “range anxiety,” a problem the electric car industry faces when customers worry that they won’t be able to complete a trip in an electric car without running out of power.
Since the 1980s, some commercial trains have used magnetic levitation or “maglev,” which uses an electrified magnetic field to propel or pull objects at high speeds. Today, maglev trains are used in South Korea, China and Japan.
In Qingdao, Shandong province, China unveiled a maglev bullet train with a top speed of 600 kilometers per hour last year.