After three years of work, ThyssenKrupp, a company synonymous with elevators, is testing the Multi in a German tower and finalizing the safety certification. Zooming up, down, left, right, and diagonally the new elevator was just sold to a residential building under construction in Berlin, and is expected to be sold to other developers soon.1
Until now, architects have had to design around the elevator shafts, which can comprise 40 percent of a building's core. Multi could allow them to install elevators almost anywhere, including the perimeter.
Strong magnets on every Multi car work with a magnetized coil running along the elevator hoistway’s guide rails to make the cars float. Turning these coils on and off creates magnetic fields strong enough to pull the car in various directions.
Designed to move 1,000 to 1,400 feet per minute, far slower than the 1,968 fpm experienced in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the new elevator prioritizes volume over speed. (Speeds over 2,000 feet per minute lead to ear problems and nausea.) Free of the cables that suspend conventional elevator cars, Multi uses magnetic levitation, the same technology involved in high-speed trains and the proposed HyperLoop, which allows the cars to be stacked at nearly every floor without overloading the system. When one car blocks another, it can move left or right out of the way. “You can manage a traffic grid like you would a subway,” Bass says. “We can guarantee a cabin will be at that floor every 30 seconds.”