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Virgin Hyperloop One hits new record speed

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Hyperloop has taken another step towards being the future of transport this week with the Virgin Hyperloop One team achieving a new speed record of 240 miles per hour (386 km/h).
This week saw Virgin Hyperloop One hit its fastest speed yet of 240 miles per hour.
(Image via Virgin Hyperloop One).

The record was achieved as part of a recent testing round where the Hyperloop system was put through its paces. As a company spokesman outlined: “all components of the system were successfully tested including the airlock, highly efficient electric motor, advanced controls and power electronics, custom magnetic levitation and guidance, pod suspension and the vacuum.”

Whilst the speed achieved by Virgin Hyperloop One is faster than the 186mph you’d usually experience on a TGV train, it’s still somewhat short of the fastest speed ever logged by a commercial TGV- 320mph. It’s also slower than the world record for a magnetically levitated (and occupied) train, which was set in Japan in 2015 with a speed of 374mph.

Nevertheless, it’s the fastest speed that Hyperloop has attained to date and is encouraging progress.

The Hyperloop system was originally conceived by Elon Musk of Tesla fame, but now Virgin has taken the helm of the Hyperloop One project.
The concept envisions a series of pods on air bearings speeding through low-pressure tubes at speeds of up 760mph. 

If tests continue to progress at their current rate it doesn’t seem like it will be long before the Hyperloop concept becomes a reality. Indeed, that’s what Virgin Hyperloop One is banking on. The company just closed a $50 million Series-C funding round with help from Caspian Venture Capital and DP World, on promises that it will be able to revolutionise both passenger and freight transportation. Nick Earle, a Virgin Hyperloop One executive, has described these ambitions in bullish terms, saying:

“It’s Amazon Prime on steroids. You don’t have to use a fleet of airplanes. You don’t have to use warehouses outside of cities to store goods because you have to truck them to meet that one-hour deadline that’s in the contract for Amazon Prime.”

Too good to be true?

With Richard Branson appointed as Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One this week, it’s clear that the company has big (and serious) plans and that statements such as those made above are not merely rhetoric.
Tags: Engineering
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