First Public Hyperloop Test Is Dazzling and Done in 2 Seconds

The Hyperloop test site (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Kang)
The Hyperloop test site (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Kang)

Everything about the Hyperloop — the idea, the ambition, the challenges — is big. But on Wednesday, it started small.

The Hyperloop One (formerly Hyperloop Technologies) team had been working in the Nevada desert for six months to build the first real demonstration of Elon Musk’s fantastical idea — a system for shooting passengers through steel vacuum tubes at 700 miles per hour. The Los Angeles-based startup conducted its first public test of the technology at the site in front of a group of government officials from around the world, investors, journalists and Hyperloop One employees.

It was brief, short, kind of fast — and tantalizing.

A large aluminum sled shot along a track reaching a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour and accelerating with a g-force of 2.4, which pushed it from zero to 60 miles per hour in 1.1 seconds. It went for about 1,000 feet before being slowed by a sand bank and coming to a full stop. It glided smoothly and quietly. In about two seconds, the test was over.

Clearly, Musk’s dream of San Francisco to Los Angeles in 35 minutes is still a long ways away. But it was a start. And the spectators who watched from bleachers that were erected for the occasion got to witness what may or may not become the future of transportation.

The hyperloop’s first public test was conducted in the open air and was strictly designed showcase the fundamentals of the propulsion system: “active stator” coils that line the track and react with magnets on the sled to push it forward. The final Hyperloop system is expected to be vacuum-sealed inside a giant tube to reduce air drag.

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SOURCE: Forbes, Aaron Tilley