Lexus NX drives on 'ice wheels'

Updated 18th January 2016
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Lexus NX drives on 'ice wheels'
Written by Kevin Lui, CNN
When it comes to driving on ice, the Japanese carmaker Lexus seems to have thrown caution to the wind. Its new one-off model literally drives on frozen water.
The company has fitted one of its NX compact crossovers with a working set of wheels and tires made from ice. The tires were created in London by a team of four ice sculpting experts from Hamilton Ice Sculptors, a 35-year-old business which specializes in creating large-scale ice and snow installations.
"Being a sculptor, it's about having a good silhouette, bold detail," explained Jack Hackney, one of the sculptors who worked on the project, in a behind-the-scenes video released by Lexus.
"Which is why these wheels are brilliant, because the shape of the rim on the car is a very strong, bold and geometric shape, so it really comes out in ice."
Based on a laser scan of the NX's real car parts, the sculptors replicated tires and wheels. It captured even the smallest of details, such as the tires' tread patterns. Each ice wheel took 36 hours to make.
The car itself was stored at -30°C for five days before it was taken out of a chilled garage and driven, rather gingerly, in a controlled space.
In-wheel LED lighting adds an extra glowing dimension to the crystal clear wheels, the clarity of which was achieved by sculpting them using ice frozen from softened, moving water.
Acrylic parts were inserted into the wheels to make sure the ice could actually hold the weight of the car, which weighs nearly 2 tons.
Lexus says that the feat took three months of research, design and testing to achieve.
This isn't the first time the carmaker has pulled a visually-stunning marketing stunt.
Back in October, Lexus exhibited a life-size 'origami' version of one of its sedans in the UK. Built from 1,700 laser-cut cardboard sheets of cardboard, it was fitted with an electric motor and could also be driven around.
And earlier in the year, Lexus unveiled a real-life hoverboard that could levitate, similar to the one featured in the 1989 "Back to the Future" sequel.