Tires are the unsung heroes of the car industry. They’re the only physical link between vehicle and pavement after all, and in terms of performance and safety, perhaps no other component carries more weight. That being said, most people think tires are boring, nothing more than a bunch of rubber that needs replacing every 50,000 miles or so. Looking for something cooler? Lexus can help.
As part of its “Creating Amazing” design campaign, Lexus commissioned a team of specialists to make wheels completely out of ice for its NX crossover. Artisans from Hamilton Ice Sculptors took three months to create frozen copies of the vehicle’s five-spoke alloys and Yokohama tires, and when they were done, they actually drove the thing down a London street.
At this point, you may be asking yourself why Lexus would do such a thing. Aside from drumming up general interest in the brand, the luxury manufacturer kept the NX in a deep freezer at minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit) for five days as part of a torture test. According to Lexus, the car started up on its first try and the LED-backed wheels held up perfectly under the crossover’s 4,000-pound heft. For a closer look at how the “ice tires” were made, check out the video below.
This isn’t the first time Lexus has experimented with odd materials in a vehicle. In October, the company presented its “Origami Car,” a four-door sedan made almost entirely from precision-cut cardboard. While the frame and electric motor were made from steel, plastics, and other materials, the vehicle’s doors, roof, wheels, tires, and full interior are 100 percent paper products. Oh, and the car is actually drivable. To read more about the project and watch a video documenting its production process, click here.