In a world where skyscrapers are forever popping up into our skies and as the saying goes, 'time is money', decreasing time wasted in a lift has its bonuses. Plus, we all know how awkward being in a lift full of strangers can be, especially with the cheesy music, so the quicker the ride the better.
Hitachi is currently building what is to be the world's fastest elevator at the CTF building, currently under construction, in Guangzhou, southern China. The elevator will be able to rocket itself from the ground floor to the 95th in just 43 seconds. At its top speed the elevator will travel at 45 miles per hour. In comparison, the average lift only travels at 5-22 miles per hour.
The building along with its elevator is set to be ready by 2016 and promises to offer a smooth and comfortable ride. The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre will stand at 1,738 feet and will have 111 above-ground floors and five below the ground. It will offer housing, office space and hotel suites and a further 93 lower speed lifts.
The current record is found in the Taipei 101, which has a top peed of 37.7 miles per hour and goes from the 5th floor to the 89th in 37 seconds. Thus, the new Hitachi elevator will beat the record not just my a margin, but an extra 8 miles per hour. The descent however, will only have a top speed of 22 miles per hour.
Arists rendition of the CTF building [Image Source: Hitachi]
The high speed is thanks to the magnet synchronous motor which provides high output power. However, there's more than just the speed that needs considering, user safety and comfort is also of importance. Hitachi have covered this in their design.
Dr Gina Barney, an expert in lift technology, said protecting passengers from discomfort was a big challenge for high-speed lifts.
"When you're travelling that distance, you're going to get pressures on your ears changing," she told the BBC.
"That's probably the most significant problem with high-speed travel in buildings - people suffer some pain."
Hitachi have used technology that can alter the pressure inside the cabin, such that the passengers do not experience the 'ear-pop' associated with high altitudes and pressure changes. Emergency brakes with high heat resistance will have the ability to stop the elevator in the undesired event of malfunction, even at the high speeds. For extra comfort there are guide rollers which can detect and compensate for sideways vibrations from wind pressure.
The Daily Mail listed the top 5 fastest elevators, including the unfinished Hitachi design. Check it out:
#5: John Hancock Center – Chicago, USA
Height: 1,129 feet (344 metres)
Speed: 20.5 mph (33 kph)
Ground to roof: 38 seconds*
#4: China World Trade Center Tower III – Beijing, China
Height: 1,083 feet (330 metres)
Speed: 22 mph (35 kph)
Ground to roof: 33 seconds*
#3: Burj Khalifa – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Height: 2,717 feet (828 metres)
Speed: 22 mph (35 kph)
Ground to roof: 82 seconds*
#2: Taipei 101 – Taipei, Taiwan
Height: 1,670 feet (509 metres)
Speed: 37.7 mph (60.1 kph)
Ground to roof: 30 seconds*
#1: Guangzhou CTF Financial Centre – Guangzhou, China (to be completed 2016)
Height: 1,739 feet (530 metres)
Speed: 44 mph (70 kph)
Ground to roof: 43 seconds*