It would be nice if it were true, but El Reg has difficulty believing that this video of a VW concept hover-car in China is genuine: The premise of the video is this: VW decided to crowd-source ideas for concept cars in China – a branding exercise it dubbed the Peoples' Car Project (recalling, the genesis of the marque) – …


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  1. LaeMing


    there are plenty of equally unbelievable products advertised on Chinese TV that are touted as truely legit (mostly 'study pills' and 'cancer cures').

    Back to the ad presented. Lots of fun. I especially like how the car's magnetics were repelling the aluminium can on the street. Nice touch! :-)

    1. LaeMing

      Though technically,

      repelling a non-ferous aluminium can would require electro-statics, not magnetics. At least, that is how they said they were separating them out of the waste stream at the local recycling plant.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        aluminium is paramagnetic

        A magnetic field will repel aluminium.

        1. Arc_Light

          Re: aluminium is paramagnetic

          Careful where you point that science! Aluminium *is* paramagnetic, yes, which means it's weakly *attracted* by a magnetic field. It's *diamagnetic* items that are weakly repelled. What sorts of items are diamagnetic? You know, the usual - water, organic compounds, frogs (the non-robotic kind that is)...see for yourself:

          A mag-lev bed would be great, but good luck keeping the sheets tucked in ;)

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: aluminium is paramagnetic

            Thanks, Arc-Light. I hadn't seen those before. When do they start to make the ones big enough to levitate humans!

        2. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: aluminium is paramagnetic

          'Paramagnetic' - you mean it's haunted?


      2. Tom 35

        Re: Though technically,

        No you can do it with electromagnets. You induce a current in the aluminium then you can repel the resulting magnetic field. I saw a demo with a floating aluminium puck at the local science centre.

        But I don't think you could put a magnet big enough to push an empty pop can away into that thing and power it.

        Unless they have mastered cold fusion and high temperature superconducting magnets there is no way it could lift it's own weight.

        This is about as real as the flying car in Harry Potter.

        1. LaeMing
          Thumb Up

          Re: Though technically,

          Thanks for the interesting correction :-)

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Though technically,

          WHAT! do you mean the Flying Ford Anglia wasn't real !!!.........

          i thought they prototyped that on some mothers do have them back in the 70's, franks certainly flew, but suffered a controls failure prior to take off....

          anyway, saying that is like saying Santa, the easter bunny and the tooth fairy aren't real...

          im appalled at your insensitivity to other readers on here...

  2. Tempest8008

    This thing is CGI'd up the wazoo.

    Cute, but like a boob job FAKE FAKE FAKE.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      How can it be fake...

      ... when Mattel are releasing hoverboards in 2015?

    2. Smallbrainfield

      ^This in spades

      I've seen more convincing student projects than this effort. Low fucking poly!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Munchausen's proxy

      CGI people certainly are proud of their shadows, aren't they?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Missed a trick

    They should have claimed it works via some sort of magnetic repulsion from iron, and thus would work only on concrete surfaces (due to the rebar) but not on asphalt or off-road.

    I think if you add some appropriate sounding disclaimers to make it sound like a slightly imperfect thing that needs more refinement rather than the revolutionary breakthrough it appears as here and they might have fooled a few more people. Or at least some Insane Clown Posse fans :)

    1. Dave Walker

      Re: Missed a trick Static Electric Roadways

      Just like the Daleks did back in the old days!

  4. jungle_jim

    Nice hair mate.

  5. jake Silver badge

    Horse shit.

    Where are the brakes?

    1. LaeMing

      Re: Where's the brakes.

      You reverse the polarity! :-D

      The biggese give-away is the fact that the grill in the bottom glows. That is what people expect from sci-fi, but not how most things work.

      1. JW Smythe

        Re: Where's the brakes.

        If I were to build a flying car, I'd sure as heck have glowing lights on the bottom. If people expect it, why give anything less.

        It'd be more impressive if it wasn't clearly CGI'd. I love those overdone shadows. They should work on that for the next "version".

        I'd have it going cross country, and laying down crop circles.

    2. Asgard

      @"Where are the brakes"

      If that thing landed at speed, the passengers would gerbil in it :)

  6. John Armstrong-Millar

    I can't believe I even making a comment

    Why are we even talking about this? Of course it's fake

    1. amanfromearth

      Re: I can't believe I even making a comment

      No, no

      It's real CGI

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Uhh... Reg? Neither of the linked articles claim it's anything but a concept submitted by a contest winner - err, I mean, crowdsourced from the crowdy crowd thing. Unless the articles have been edited since you posted the links, you're no more credible in your claims of their authors' foolishness, than anyone who suggests that the video is real.

    It seems fairly clear that everyone (save perhaps the twitter set you mention, though by now I'm not prepared to take your word on that either) realizes it's a pre-rendered promo video, and that 'crowdsourced' means 'we got a sketch from a dude and thought we should send it to the Maya guys'.

    Aside from propping up your own egos, I don't see what's to be gained by putting words in other peoples' mouths (and harming their reputations in the eyes of anyone who trusts your assessment of the linked articles).

    Mocking people for being gullible while tricking *yourselves* into believing you're the only journalists smart enough to see the obvious is... disappointing... to put it mildly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I too would like to know.

      Since the two linked articles are now entirely clear that this is nothing but a "concept", can anyone who saw them earlier today confirm whether or not they've been edited and tell us what they were like before that happened (if indeed it did)?

      1. oddie
        Big Brother

        Re: I too would like to know.

        editing of articles after they have been published? what nonsense is this?

        don't you know that we have always been at war with eurasia?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I too would like to know.

          Do you have any evidence, oddie, aside from a deeply ingrained cynicism that leaves your worldview as vulnerable to manipulation as that of a happy-go-lucky, overly-credulous WiReD journalist?

          Starting from a position of believing that the authors are full of shit, using that to justify your judgment that they must therefore fall under the category of people who would need to / would post-edit, and therefore concluding that the authors are full of shit... You can do better than that, right?

          It's easier and more productive to criticize the true morons in society rather than affecting such ego as to make the entire world and everyone in it (save your precise peers) worthless. God knows there are plenty of real morons to go around - and you're probably letting some of them get away while you're busy attacking others based on prejudice (and based on its being cool to dislike things on the internet; if you never like anything, you'll never get made fun of for accidentally liking the wrong thing).

  8. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    So many things wrong.

    Effects that CGI artists might not know about:

    They get really close to some other cars In the carpark, but none of them move or melt. No-one had coins or keys in their pockets? What about all the erased credit card strips?

    CGI artists should know better:

    Sometimes they drew a reasonable reflection on the windscreen. When driving along the pavement, they go from shadow into light, but this does not show in the reflection. Nor does the camera man. When the camera is right infront of the car, the reflection should spread out from the midline, not pan sideways across the whole windscreen.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: So many things wrong.

      The CGI artists probably did know better, but it's only a concept vid, with limited time and budget! Heck, ILM have made similar school boy errors in StarWars ep 3 (Ewan McGregor et al flying through a flashy laser battle in an open-sided speeder, and the flashes aren't reflected on their faces). Peter Jackson's WETA Studios tend to do a better job.

      I agree, though, that lighting does make a big difference to our perception. StarTrek looks too clean and well lit, BSG looks better for looking like a submarine movie, 2001 ASO just looks great because it was made with real models.

  9. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    It's the perfect car...

    You can test drive it, but when you try to buy it, your credit card mysteriously no longer works!

    1. Danny 14

      Re: It's the perfect car...

      and if it is using that sort of power for induced current magnetic repellent then your keys should also start glowing and melting through your leg.

      1. Darryl

        Re: It's the perfect car...

        What about when you drive by the poor guy with the steel plate in his head?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I must congratulate my fellow comentards

    for taking the high road (no pun intended) and discussing the technical merits. After 15 seconds of video all I could think was "I wonder if Wang likes wang?"

    Mine's the anonymous one with the big book of psychometric tests in the pocket.

    1. It wasnt me

      Re: I must congratulate my fellow comentards

      Thanks, have one of these <= , really got me chuckling.

  11. Lloyd
    Thumb Down

    Peoples Car Project? PCP?

    I guess you'd have to smoke some serious amounts of PCP before reality had distorted sufficiently for this thing to work.

  12. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

    Accident waiting to happen

    My understanding of magnetism is quite limited, but wouldn't two of these cars violently try to attach to one another or send each other flying into the shop windows if they passed in the street? And what about other ferrous objects like lampposts, manhole covers, cutlery from street cafés? The way I see it your car will look like a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean before you even pull out of the garage.

  13. HipposRule

    As YouTube is blocked

    I can't work out whether it's fake or not

  14. h4rm0ny

    I like how in China...

    ...a young girl is applauded by her school mates for scientific brilliance. I know it's a fake, but I can't help thinking that scene is actually realistic. Brilliance isn't as highly regarded by children as it should be.

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: I like how in China...

      Asian countries actually value good grades instead of rooting for the dumb sports dudes. Check out Jackie Chan's comments on bullying; in a stunning reversal of what happens in the average US school, you only get bullied around if you are a good-for-nothing kid. That is, the average US bully would actually find himself being bullied by *the rest of the school* if he were in a country like China.

      I know they suck on other stuff like censorship, but at least their educational values seem to be right on.

  15. KirstarK

    its obvious CGI, and not good cgi either.

    also the design is stupid for what its supposed to be. It would not be stable and would fall over.

    1. stucs201

      re: unstable = fall over

      Nope, one of the few things that isn't wrong with it. Computers are pretty good at balencing unstable things these days - e.g. a Segway.

  16. Eugene Goodrich
    Paris Hilton

    Obviously fake

    A glass car in China with no bumpers or fenders? That'll last.

  17. Senior Ugli

    It looks shopped

    I can tell from the pixels, and no one can be that bald

  18. Anonymous Coward


    At least it won't leave any tyre marks...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Would driving over the equator cause the car to spin around like a compass? I didnt pay that much attention at school so could have got the wrong end of the magnet...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's that bald I met him.

    Chill. Its a great marketing piece. Whinners like you guys are the one I beat behind the movie theater afterwards. Just enjoy the f$#^g add morons!

  21. fLaMePrOoF

    It's sad that you're even asking the question of the authenticity of this video, it's so obviously tongue in cheek. The only story here is that large numbers of Chinese people have fallen for it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VWs don't hover ... they plummet, normally in the close vicinity of Japanese men. But at least they are "tough as old boot"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Plumetting beetles

      You must be thinking of this one:

  23. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Feasible, but only if

    Using magnets made from legpullium-takingthepissium alloy doped with unobtainium, ultra rapidly cooled from liquid state to preserve its amorphous metallic glass structure.

  24. Winkypop Silver badge

    Das luft auto?

    You feed it Chinese batteries and half an hour later its hungry for more...

  25. Andy Miller

    Buttered Cat Array


  26. wim

    design fail

    who would put the controls in the middle so that the passenger can correct the driver as seen in the video ?

    1. Keith Williams
      Thumb Up

      Re: design fail

      If the controls are in the middle then you can use it in both Right and Left hand drive areas.

    2. Mussie (Ed)

      Re: design fail

      Probably the designers wife

  27. MrXavia

    Haha loved the video, I was expecting a real ground effect vehicle, but that is a pretty good fake!

    Lets see how long until a local car company tries to copy it....

    Maybe if the roads had embedded copper coils they could do it...

    Hmmm reminds me of Syndicate...

  28. Alicia


    So when I saw the car design I was expecting the seating bit to stay upright, while an engine rotated the outer shell*. That would have been cool.

    *I know there are real words to describe this situation, but I want my effort to be relative to the CGI in the advert.

    1. Vic

      Re: spinny!

      > I was expecting the seating bit to stay upright, while an engine rotated the outer shell*.

      You're thinking of a monowheel.

      Such vehicles are essentially unusable anywhere a collision is unacceptable. Just try putting the brakes on...


      1. frank ly

        Re: spinny!

        If I remember correctly, a Mr Garrison of South Park invented the vehicle you are thinking of. It had some user acceptance issues though.

        1. Vic

          Re: spinny!

          > Mr Garrison of South Park invented the vehicle you are thinking of

          Actually, they were a real invention dating from the second half of the 19th century. People really thought they could work. People were wrong...


          1. jake Silver badge

            @Vic (was: Re: spinny!)

            Do a little research ... Kerry McLean comes to mind. I happened to be at Bonneville a little over a decade ago when he set a 45MPH record ... on a bar stool ;-)

            He's a mad inventor, and a good engineer. Bad web site, but grit your teeth & find the pictures over a pint. Worth it for a grin on the human ability to say "the HELL I can't do that!"

            1. Vic

              Re: @jake (was: spinny!)

              > Do a little research

              Do your own research.

              Just because someone built a monowheel does not mean that they are useful. They fundamentally cannot brake hard., as just a few minutes' reading or thinking would dsemonstrate.

              It's possible to build a 1200cc unicycle. That doesn't make it a practical vehicle.


              1. jake Silver badge

                @Vic (was: Re: @jake (was: spinny!))

                I think that was my point.

                1. Vic

                  Re: @Vic (was: @jake (was: spinny!))

                  > I think that was my point.

                  So why are you telling me to do my research when what I posted was entirely factually correct? Are you that desperate to pick an argument?


              2. Decius

                Re: @jake (was: spinny!)

                Why can't a monowheel brake just as fast as any other vehicle with the same traction and total rotational inertia of the wheels? Put in a counter rotating wheel inside the drive wheel, and brake them against each other. For traction issues, use a wider wheel.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  @Decius (was: Re: @jake (was: spinny!))

                  Some people just don't want an education ;-)

  29. Tony Paulazzo


    Best car advert ever, 5 minutes later and I can still remember the name of the manufacturer, VW - compared to all those other adverts where car drives along stunning scenery on empty road.

    FFS I even watched the entire ad on youtube (had to click to watch), and I hate adverts, and then the great sciencey commentards, thumbs up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: win

      ...but not nearly as good as the 'Un-pimp ze auto' ads; I remember those *years* later. And even though I know that it's not like the Wolfsburg execs sat around and thought that up because that's how they roll, they at least approved it - which does say a little bit about the corporate culture. To the extent that a company like VW has one.

      A side note: I was at a few auto shows a couple of years back, during setup, and during the last 12 hours before the show opened (or more usually, the noxious 'VIP preview', where wealth creators in tuxedos pretended to be interested in Ford Transit vans while their boozed-up trophy wives ran riot in motion simulators) it was always complete bedlam. 50 lift trucks roaring around beeping, creatives yelling about where vinyl stickers went, people adjusting lights, right up until the minute the doors opened. Panic in the streets, frayed nerves, yelling, banging, every booth a riot of panic and anger.

      Except VW.

      I remember looking around at the chaos - imagine a long, slow pan right-to-left, with one of those cheesy action movie 'Aiiyaagh!' falling-off-something-and-dying screams a few seconds in - and right in the center of my view was the VW booth, pristine white, complete, sparkling, with one old janitor dude sweeping away a fine coat of MDF dust, kicked up by other booths' circular saws, which had accumulated on vee-dub's shining tile floor.

      It was 2008. That year, if I recall correctly, Wolfsburg were the only manufacturer to post a profit and a rise in stock price.

  30. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    It's futile to call it fake

    again. As others have done so sufficiently. But, no one else noticed the car seats which look like they've been designed to accommodate a Teutonic giant rather than tiny Chineses?

  31. MikeyD85
    Thumb Up


    Warp core on the underside of the car is obvious.

  32. James Pickett

    I think that rotating metal discs with fitted rubber doughnuts would overcome most of the shortcomings, and require a lot less power. Is the world ready for them, though?

  33. Anonymous Coward

    good to know

    that at my mid forties, my eyes can still spot CGI...

  34. Richard Scratcher

    I believe it.

    I once saw a similar vehicle driving through a village.

    It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....

  35. markd74

    This looks real

    I can tell from the lack of pixels and from seeing quite a few hovercars in my time

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come on at least the Hitler Diaries where believable for a while longer than this! It's all very nice and clever and I like the touch with the CGI'd tin-can halfway through but seriously? If this were even remotely true it would all over the media like a freaking rash!

    Jesus wept, no doubt some of you lot still turn up a Copperfield show and still say, "Wow! How's he do that?!".

  37. Silverburn

    It's transparently a real VW. Witness the lack of indicator useage, and the hogging of the middle lane (see bridge clip).

  38. K

    Thats so 2011...

    Apparently the 2012 version has a flux capacitor!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like most adverts...

    ...It's a complete lie.

    Shouldn't it have a disclaimer at the bottom saying something like 'Sequence shortened'?

    1. TheRealRoland

      Re: Like most adverts...


      More along the lines of:

      Do not attempt. Professional Driver at a closed track. Pre-production vehicle shown.

      or, even better:


  40. Alex King

    Yes but...

    Part of me wonders what would happen if VW did throw some of its GDP-of-a-small-country R&D budget at creating a hovercar. 'Twould certainly be better than Mr Moller's idiotic efforts.

    1. Vic

      Re: Yes but...

      > what would happen if VW did throw some of its GDP-of-a-small-country

      > R&D budget at creating a hovercar

      Someone would crash it.

      The trouble with having no direct contact with the ground is that all acceleration needs to be done by way of vectored thrust - directed fans and the like. Unless your name is Apollo and you have a big "USA" decal on the side, that thrust tends to be comparatively low compared to the mass of the vehicle. So you get comparatively small acceleration.

      That means you have to look much further ahead, and plan your manoeuvres much more carefully. Which won't happen, and so drivers will go careering into stationary objects. Frequently.

      There are a few places around where you can go and drive hovercraft. It's excellent fun - but you'll come away with an unshakeable belief that such vehicles are not fit for the public road...


      1. kiwimuso

        Re: Yes but...

        Not only that, but I would hate to be trying to control it in a strong side wind - or any wind for that matter. Lovely over the Humber bridge in a strong wind.

  41. NozeDive

    The most shocking part of this video

    Look at 2:13... hipsters in China!

  42. Dick Pountain

    Do It Yourself

    Anyone of us could build one of these cars for ourselves - all you need is a copy of Maya and about 18 months of training...

  43. Alan Firminger


    There was no amazement from bystanders, no vehicles in adjacent traffic wobbled as drivers did treble takes.

  44. steve 124

    LOL. That will go great with my Dick Tracy television-watch and there's room for my K9 robotic dog too! Surely you weren't actually on the fence if this was real or not.

  45. Sergey 1

    Would I be the first to spot a car reflection at 1:56?

    1. Boyd Crow

      Good catch

      Looks like that shot was video'd from a standard Toyota or Nissan vehicle.

  46. Richard Bragg

    Wonder what that technology

    would do to my pacemaker. Or those fitted to any pedestrian you passed by.

  47. Solomon Emmanuel Goldstien

    I also recommend watching Part Two of the video. Apparently, Much Fun Was Had By All.(tm)

    1. Iain Gilbert

      Aww look at the little stiggies! Now we know where top gear is breeding them in case they kill the current one.

  48. Boyd Crow

    Cute but bogus

    The primary giveaway is braking, although the same applies to forward motion. You can't brake effectively with maglev because forces fall off too rapidly when not normal to the repelled surface. Friction or reaction thrusters have to be used. Gimbaled gyroscopes could be used for rotation. There also appears to be some blurring underneath the vehicle for which there is no plausible explanation.

  49. Mussie (Ed)


    If your asking if this is real please hand in your intelligence at the door and head to the nearest Iphone dealer

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately the side effects are radical baldness.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Theoretically possible

    But using the new near room temperature superconductors based on the senary oxocuprates.

    I came up with a way to make this work by using a Manhattan Project method of enriching barium so that the specific isotope responsible for the gravity nullification effect is present in the finished material and also increases the useable fraction.

    The way this works is that the virtual electrons present in the spinning superconductor are so energetic that they displace the Higgs bosons and therefore neutralise the mass of the object above the disk with a relatively well defined boundary so that it isn't lifting the entire atmosphere.

    Can you say "DIY hoverboard" ?! Seriously has no-one else even thought of enriching isotopes before, it seems novel enough.

    Patent pending maybe?

    AC/DC 6EQUJ5

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