Elon Musk’s proposed Hyperloop will consist of two airless massive tubes extending from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Hyperloop pods would take passengers the 380 miles from LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes, which is half the time it takes a plane and presumably without all the added headaches of air travel. In theory, pods carrying passengers or cargo through the Hyperloop would eventually travel through the tubes at speeds topping out at 700 mph. While the current Tesla Hyperloop prototype pod is not going anywhere near that fast yet, it did just beat the current speed record of 201 mph just set this past weekend’s Hyperloop competition, at the 0.8-mile Hyperloop tunnel test track at Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket building company in California. Musk announced the record in an Instagram post today saying his team ran the test to see how fast the pod could go without any added weight.
We took the SpaceX/Tesla Hyperloop pusher pod for a spin by itself a few days ago to see what it could do when not pushing student pods (some need a push to get going, e.g. passive maglev). Got up to 355 km/h (220 mph) before things started 🔥. Kind of like racing with a tugboat. Maybe able get past 500 km/h (about half speed of sound) next month with a few tweaks or maybe tiny pieces …
The pod uses magnetic levitation and travels through a near-vacuum long tube suspended off the ground to protect against inclement weather and earthquake. Meanwhile, Musk’s tunnel boring firm ‘The Boring Company’ was given the green-light to build a two-mile-long test tunnel in Los Angeles last week.
On a side note, China’s state-run space contractor says it is researching a “high-speed flying train” capable of supersonic speeds of nearly 2,500 miles per hour eclipsing the proposed 700 mph top speed of the Hyperloop It also happens to be three times faster than the speed of sound and about four times faster than commercial air travel. Video narration of the proposed “flying train” below is in Chinese.