SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Contest Winner Hits Record Speed of 467 km/h

German team WARR Hyperloop won the competition for a third time in a row with a self-propelled pod that reached a speed of 467 kilometers per hour.
Loukia Papadopoulos

In 2015, SpaceX launched the Hyperloop Pod Competition asking universities around the world to engineer pod models based on its advanced Hyperloop concept. The competition saw its first two installments in January and August of 2017 and launched its third on July 22, 2018 focused solely on maximum speed.

Maximum speed self-propelled pods


In addition to achieving record-breaking speeds, the pods also had to be self-propelled.

The competition attracted the best engineering teams from top universities.

However, one team stood out all three times. WARR Hyperloop, a group of German engineering students from the Technical University of Munich, not only won the contest for the third time in a row, they also broke their own previously-achieved speed limit.

Their impressive prototype reached a speed of 290 miles per hour (467 kilometers per hour), edging closer to supersonic speed. “We managed to go almost 50% faster than last year,” states WARR Hyperloop’s site.

The team’s win is no small feat. For starters SpaceX’s Hyperloop test track in Hawthorne, CA headquarters is a mere 0.8 miles long.

This means for the pods to achieve maximum speed they have to accelerate hard from a standstill. However, the WARR Hyperloop team has faced tough odds before.

Source: WARR Hyperloop/Heddergott, TUM

In January 2017, the team beat out 120 qualified teams to snag its first Hyperloop win. Then in August, they designed a new smaller, lighter and much faster prototype.

Source: WARR Hyperloop/Heddergott, TUM

This second version weighed a mere 85 kg and performed a maximum acceleration of 0.9 g. This year, WARR Hyperloop hoped to achieve a speed of 372 mph (600 kph).

Strong finalists lag behind WARR

Although they fell short of this goal they still managed to win first place. This year’s contest also saw two more strong finalists.

Source: WARR Hyperloop/Heddergott, TUM

Team Delft from the Netherlands, winner of the overall best pod award in SpaceX’s first Hyperloop competition, and EPF Loop from Switzerland also made it to the final rounds with also noteworthy pod models. However, at respective top speeds of 88 mph and 55 mph, the competing teams, that also suffered some technical issues, fell far behind WARR Hyperloop.

Elon Musk made an appearance at 2018 Hyperloop Pod Competition to give the reigning team a signed metallic model of Musk’s original Hyperloop pod design. With three consecutive wins, the token was indeed well-deserved.

Source: WARR Hyperloop/Heddergott, TUM

The competition’s prototypes are likely to serve as inspiration for the development of a full-fledged functioning Hyperloop system that can be implemented in real life. The concept is currently being explored by several firms including Virgin (Hyperloop One) and startup Arrivo.

It seems worldwide there is a race to the Hyperloop. Break a pod!