Chinese researchers make car glide 35mm above ground in maglev test

Forget self-driving cars, the Middle Kingdom has floating cars now

Chinese researchers levitated a 2.8-ton car 35 millimeters off the ground on a highway in east China’s Jiangsu province, state-sponsored media said over the weekend.

The feat was accomplished by modifying an off-the-shelf car with a permanent magnet array and installing a corresponding conductor rail on 7.8km of road, thus achieving magnetic levitation, or "maglev" technology.

Eight cars in total were eventually tested, reaching speeds of up to 143mph (230 kph), according to the media outlets.

The researchers hail from Chengdu's Southwest Jiaotong University and are examining how cars might be fitted with maglevs in the future as an energy-saving measure.

In July, China debuted a maglev bullet train that travels up to 373mph (600kph). It's recognized as the world's fastest train, but a lack of existing track networks keeps it from being much use.

One such service does operate commercially in China – the Shanghai maglev train the goes from the airport to the city at a cruising speed of 268 mph (431 kph).

Last month, China said it had completed construction of an 800m maglev trial line, although it is only capable of reaching speeds of 50mph (80kph). The Red Rail sees the train hover 30 feet above the ground with the track positioned above the vehicle. ®

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