Hyperloop One completed the second phase of testing its ultrafast transportation system, propelling an aerodynamic pod down a low-pressure tube at record speed and distance, the company announced Wednesday.
“Phase 2” was successfully completed Sunday on the company’s test track spanning more than 1,600 feet in the Nevada desert, the company said in a statement. On that track, the test pod was able to travel 1,433 feet at a speed of 192 miles per hour — roughly four-and-a-half times longer and almost three times faster than its Phase 1 testing earlier this month that was hailed as the technology’s “Kitty Hawk” moment.
“Phase 1 proved that our technology works and that Hyperloop is real. For Phase 2, we built upon everything we learned from our initial test and accomplished faster and faster speeds at a farther distance,” Hyperloop One’s chief engineer and co-founder Josh Giegel said in a statement. “We’re now one step closer to deploying Hyperloop around the world.”
The hyperloop, a catch-all term describing the technology that’s been developed by numerous companies since Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk crowdsourced the idea in 2012, resembles a bullet train that can theoretically travel at velocities nearing the speed of sound (about 700 miles per hour). Hyperloop One is the first and only company to construct an operational hyperloop system.
To do this, Hyperloop One uses electric propulsion in a vacuum environment to launch a pod that slightly hovers above the track thanks to what’s known as magnetic levitation, or mag-lev technology. The vehicle is designed to carry both passengers and cargo.
The hyperloop is being touted as a revolutionary technology that could reinvent transportation as we know it. An often cited example is the potential to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco — normally a six-hour drive — in just over 30 minutes.
Sure enough, a graphic on Hyperloop One’s site reads, “We’re not selling transportation, we’re selling time.” But major questions over the product’s affordability and infrastructural feasibility remain.
For now, though, the team at Hyperloop One will continue to celebrate.