Automotive

Volkswagen crowdsources its way to a Hover Car

Volkswagen crowdsources its wa...
The Hover Car is capable of traveling above ground
The Hover Car is capable of traveling above ground
View 7 Images
Volkswagen says the Hover Car works by way of electromagnetic roads
1/7
Volkswagen says the Hover Car works by way of electromagnetic roads
The Hover Car is capable of traveling above ground
2/7
The Hover Car is capable of traveling above ground
Volkswagen displays three People's Car Project concepts in Beijing
3/7
Volkswagen displays three People's Car Project concepts in Beijing
The Hover Car transports two
4/7
The Hover Car transports two
The Music Car creates a light show in tune to its audio system
5/7
The Music Car creates a light show in tune to its audio system
Volkswagen says the Hover Car works by way of electromagnetic roads
6/7
Volkswagen says the Hover Car works by way of electromagnetic roads
The Smart Key gives you smartphone-like functions within a small car key
7/7
The Smart Key gives you smartphone-like functions within a small car key
View gallery - 7 images

The world of personal mobility transporters doesn't bring a whole lot of glamor. The Segway was never exactly an enviable ride, and newer concepts like the GM EN-V aren't any better. But a Volkswagen that hovers a few feet over the ground? That channels a mix of Back to the Future and The Jetsons that adds some excitement to the personal mobility segment.

The Hover Car is one of three top concepts that Volkswagen procured through the crowd-sourced "People's Car Project" (PCP). Since debuting the project in China nearly a year ago, Volkswagen has inspired 33 million website visitors and 119,000 unique ideas for possible products and technologies.

"The ‘People's Car Project' in China marks the beginning of a new era in automobile design", Luca de Meo, Director of Marketing, Volkswagen Group said. "We are no longer just building cars for, but also with customers and at the same time initiating a national dialog which gives us a deep insight into the design preferences, needs and requirements of Chinese customers."

From the initial 119,000 ideas, Volkswagen picked three of its favorites. It developed concept cars around the ideas and is displaying them at the Beijing Motor Show.

The Hover Car transports two
The Hover Car transports two

The Hover Car is the concept that catches our attention the most, if only for the fact that it brings back childhood memories of the hoverboard that Marty McFly used as an escape vessel in Back to the Future II. Volkswagen defines the car as an all-electric two-seat city car that hovers just above the ground and travels along electromagnetic roadways.

"The creative ideas from the ‘People's Car Project' give us a valuable insight into the wishes of Chinese drivers," Simon Loasby, Head of Design at Volkswagen Group China, said. "The trend is towards safe cars that can easily navigate overcrowded roads and have a personal, emotional and exciting design."

The other two ideas don't quite inspire the "futuristic nostalgia" of the Hover Car. The Music Car uses a series of exterior OLED lights to create light shows in tune to the driver's music - kind of the opposite of the "safe cars" that Loasby mentions. The Smart Key is a twist on current generation smartphone integration. Instead of a phone, the concept uses a touchscreen-equipped vehicle key to provide information about the car, such as fuel level and security.

Thanks to the strong response, Volkswagen is extending the People's Car Project. Originally scheduled for a one-year run, Volkswagen says that it will now sponsor the program indefinitely. It also plans to increase the scope of the project. In the past, it has also said that it might extend the program beyond China into other markets.

As far as actual production models, PCP may give Volkswagen some inspiration and ideas, but the automaker doesn't plan to leave all details to the public. It will only proceed with projects that are in line with corporate objectives, and it will obviously have the ultimate say as to the final details.

"In a long-term context, the findings of the ‘People‘s Car Project’ will influence Volkswagen’s product strategy," de Meo said. "The design of our models will, however, continue to reflect the tradition of the Volkswagen brand. If at some time in the future we are to produce a vehicle from the ‘People's Car Project', it will be a combination of customers' opinions and brand tradition."

The video below is in Chinese, but it does provide an insight into what the drum-like Hover Car concept could look and perform like.

Source: Volkswagen AG via World Car Fans

Volkswagen People's car project, Hover Car, the flying two-seater

View gallery - 7 images
33 comments
ADRLIN
Honestly??!! We are posting the fantasy now? Please don't assume if we got meglav train, we got meglav pod already. We got fission reactor, but still some time until viable fusion.
n3r0
This goes to show that people don't have any idea what they really want.
Snake Oil Baron
Except for the lack of antigravity technology this seems like a very practical idea. Just build them with a partition down the middle so the strange woman you need to ride with can't smack you when someone cuts you off.
Jerome Thomas
So many problems! Strong winds? Luggage space? etc.
g2525
@Snake Oil Baron
Don't assume something if you don't understand what it's talking about in the video. At 1:43 it shows a piechart which shows the geological composition of Chengdu.
this 钒 is Vanadium in chinese this 钛 is Titanium this 磁鐵礦 is Magnitite under the piechart is 100亿吨 this means 10 billion ton; its referring to the amount of magnetite under Chengdu. The vehicle is using the magnetite in the ground to hover.
Bruce H. Anderson
Hovering (maglev) is cool I guess, but this will mean infrastructure in defined pathways. A magnetic track could probably handle the stopping/starting/merging. But how do you get the " hover car" to the track? Or off? This seems like a fancy light rail with pods. Wheels, I've heard, don't take much energy to support a transport device, and they work in lots of places. And of course there is the question regarding the effects of EMFs on the passengers.
Bob Fately
Certainly a cute little bugger, doubtful it could ever be realized as a working vehicle - for maglev to work (not meglav) requires huge amounts of power - no way that car has batteries strong enough to get it to maneuver or stop (if that's even possible - no friction means it would take more power to halt).
CGI, anyone?
wle
"using the magnetite in the ground to hover. "
ha ha! my only wish is to live long enough to see that work!
wle
wle

why is 'the wheel' such a problem that has to be constantly 'solved'?
a wheel takes zero energy to 'hover'
how much does this thing take?
wle..
Snake Oil Baron
@g2525
Don't assume that because someone states something that they are being serious. I did indeed see the visual aid of the white arrow power coming from the rainbow layers beneath the earth to help lift the car and deduced that the designers were hoping for some geomagnetic mechanism to make this possible. I just didn't see it as sensible, hence the need for antigravity.
There is a reason that, amongst the computer graphics, there is no real footage of a tiny device being floated a millimeter or two above the magnetic field of Chengdu as a proof of concept.