Rebecca Bernard

The Lexus Hoverboard Is a Disappointing Sham

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Lexus hoverboard jump

The Lexus hoverboard in action

Yes, I said it, and I will say it again: the Lexus Hoverboard is a disappointing sham.

When you watch the video released by Lexus yesterday, any Back to the Future II or technology fan would get excited. To see a board hover above the ground and carry human weight opens the doors for technology we had long banished from our hopes.

It even works on water, and not even Marty McFly’s board could do that!

Real Hoverboard by Lexus

Poor Marty won’t make it very far on water
Photo: ©Amblin Entertainment

If you haven’t seen the video yet, you can check it out below.

It looks amazing, right?

It’s not until you look at the reports from members of the press who have seen it in person and stepped on it that your hopes begin to deflate.

Robb Holland of Jalopnik reported the hoverboard requires liquid nitrogen refills every 10 minutes to keep the super conductor’s ceramic cool, limiting how long you can ride. Okay, you might say–that’s not too bad, it sounds like a small sacrifice to be able to hover off the ground.

I’m not done yet!

Before the Lexus hoverboard, there was the Hendo Hover. It was billed as the world’s first hoverboard, funded through Kickstarter. It’s major flaw was that it could only hover over surfaces made of metal because it used magnets.

The Lexus version also uses magnetic levitation to float (a technology that is also used in maglev trains), but when you watch the video, it looks like the Lexus is on a traditional skatepark made of concrete. It must be just as good as the movie version!


Lexus tricked the camera (and casual video viewer who won’t check their facts) to make it look like the hoverboard doesn’t require metal. In reality, there is a narrow track embedded in the concrete of the skatepark.

According to Dan Read of Top Gear, if you were to set the hoverboard on the track and give it a push, the hoverboard would continue along the course without a rider.  Because the track is so narrow, it is said that riding the board feels less like skateboarding and more like walking on a tightrope, and it takes a lot of concentration just to stay upright. Dan Read had to accept a guiding push along the track to get it to move at all without instantly wiping out, and Holland also says the hoverboard is very difficult to ride.

Lexus hoverboard fall

This happens a lot on the Lexus hoverboard

I’ll give it to Lexus; its hoverboard is very sleek with its bamboo deck and streamlined shape. However, I am sticking to my first statement. This hoverboard is a sham because Lexus deliberately disguised the metal track in the video to make it look like it improved upon existing hover technology (and therefore made some big innovative step forward).

I think I speak for many people when I say I’m disappointed, because I was hoping that our 2015 would have something to match up with the very fictional version in Back to the Future II, or at the very least we wouldn’t be subjected to more sub-par attempts.

Lexus attached the tagline “making impossible possible” to all of the videos about this hoverboard. I would argue that the better tagline would be “making impossible look possible”.

A Dayton native, Rebecca got her start blogging at the curiously named Harlac’s Tongue while studying abroad in the UK. She loves tooling around town with her Ford Focus named Jerome to the song they’re playing on the radio. On any given weekend, you can find her with her camera at area festivals, concerts, and car shows, shopping at flea markets, or taking an adventure on the open road. See more articles by Rebecca.