Reality is sometimes stranger than fiction, and a corollary perhaps is that fiction often inspires reality. Although Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators (PVE) wasn’t explicitly inspired by the tube that sucked up the gluttonous German, Augustus Gloop, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the connection is clear.
These air-tight elevators use a similar principle that’s employed to shuttle cash and checks through vacuum tubes at drive-through banks. A series of exhaust fans at the top of the unit create a pressure depression, which sucks the elevator car upward for a distance of up to 30 feet on a series of tracks within the tube. The car then simply glides downward, using only the force of gravity, which PVE says makes their products more eco-friendly than conventional elevators.
“Essentially, we have simplified the ability to retrofit and accommodate an elevator in an existing home, making it a cost-effective, quicker, and cleaner solution in comparison to traditional products,” PVE CEO Juan de Ledebur told Digital Trends.
The elevator does cost a pretty penny though. The $30,000 price tag for installation of a standard model might make many people gasp at the claim of cost-effectiveness. But, given that traditional elevators run between $15,000 and $25,000 — not including the cost of renovations like breaking down walls to install the elevator shaft, machine room, and electrical cables — PVE’s fee seems reasonable for people with disposable income and an aversion to, or difficulty with, stairs. And elevators can be a safe, practical, and financially wise investment for elderly two-story homeowners or people with disabilities who have difficulty navigating stairs.
A clear advantage for PVE’s compared to traditional elevators include the views offered through its 360-degree design, which allows guests and homeowners to peer out and admire their domain like royalty while levitating upwards like a Jetson.