How It Works

Why can’t we use magnets to make hover cars?


Wouldn’t that be an amazing sight – thousands of magnetic hover cars cruising silently along a futuristic highway? In fact, this exact type of technology already exists. It’s called magnetic levitation (maglev for short), and it’s been developed since the Seventies to power high-speed trains in Europe and Asia. With maglev trains, both the train car and the rails exert electromagnetic fields that repel each other. The electromagnets double as levitation and propulsion systems, pushing frictionless trains to speeds upwards of 580 kilometres (360 miles) per hour. Maglev cars, although technologically feasible, would require a road surface embedded with electromagnetic tracks at massive expense.

Answered by Dave Roos