Las Vegas Hyperloop Debut

Issue 44

11.09.20 - The future of transportation could possibly be taking shape as Virgin Hyperloop gave the first test ride on its track recently in Las Vegas, but the futuristic form of transportation will take years before the everyday public could potentially become equated with the high-speed rides on a hyperloop. A hyperloop is a bold, new transportation system in which people travel in a small pod within a vacuum tube at speeds as high as 600 mph (Might sound crazy, I know).

The Virgin Hyperloop's pod in question only reached 100 mph on their track, according to the company, as opposed to the 600 mph that the company has been touting. However, the company stated that its track is only 500 meters long, limiting how fast the pods can go on the test run.

Virgin's system includes magnetic levitation, similar to those used in advanced high-speed rail systems in Japan and Germany. Magnetic levitation lifts a train car above a track, as the magnets' like poles push the train upward. The magnets also propel the train as like poles repel and push the train forward, and the opposite poles attract and pull the train forward. Magnetic levitation has been used on some train systems since the 1970s.

Virgin Hyperloop has plans to build systems of hyperloops and vacuum tubes that connect cities. The company stated that its commercial systems in the future will have pods that seat between 25 and 30 people, and that they envision carrying tens of thousands of passengers per hour.

Hyperloop systems can run either above ground or below ground, but so far, the company has focused on above-ground projects. Tunneling below ground can be time consuming and expensive, and many roadblocks remain before a commercial hyperloop system could be built. The company still has a lot of money it needs to raise if it even wants to scratch the surface of its goals. The company is also planning to build a $500 million test facility in West Virginia to help certify the technology.

Source: Financial Times