Nearly 20 years after “Back to the Future II” predicted 2015 would be the year of the hoverboard, Lexus is trying to make that come true. The car company appears to have developed a working model, and teased August 5 as the release date.
The project, meant to promote a still unnamed new vehicle, went public 18 months ago when Hiroyoshi Yoshiki, a managing officer in Toyota’s Technical Administration Group, told Bloomberg's Next Big Thing Summit that “flying car means the car is just a little bit away from the road.” The seemingly innocuous statement gave way to a flurry of announcements making it clear that the Toyota-owned Lexus has incorporated liquid-nitrogen superconductors and magnets into a bamboo hoverboard that seems designed for Marty McFly.
Lexus has published a series of video teasing the new technology, with the latest concluding in the vague, “See it August 5th.”
Lexus has been clear that it's not developing the hoverboard for commercial sale, just like it's not going to work in every situation. The board will only float above a special magnetic track, the technology that powers Japan's Maglev trains.
The only problem for Lexus is that, in the race for eyeballs, it's competing with an actual hoverboard. The Hendo hoverboard also uses magnets and, while it will float over metal surfaces, its designers plan to test the Hendo at metal skateparks then put the magnet up for sale for a price in the triple digits.