The Virgin Hyperloop One has set a new speed record of 240 miles per hour (386 km/h). The most recent record was achieved as part of a testing session that put the whole Hyperloop system through its paces. “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,” the company announced. The pressure inside the Hyperloop tubes is lowered to an equivalent experienced at 200,000 feet above sea level.
The low pressure allows the electricity-powered magnetic levitation levitating pod to fly through its concrete testing tube with very little air resistance. Hyperloop has had a string of good news in the last few months. In October serial entrepreneur Richard Branson announced the Virgin Group had invested in Hyperloop One. The significant investment now means the project has been re-named Virgin Hyperloop One. The transport project also announced that Branson will sit on its board of directors and that the company successfully raised $50 million in Series C funding.
Virgin Hyperloop to provide both cargo and passenger transport
Virgin Hyperloop One pitches itself to investors and fans from two different motivating standpoints. First, it promises to revolutionize shipping. Musk predicted in his 2013 white paper, Hyperloop Alpha that the pods would eventually be able to achieve speeds of 700mph. But even if he is able to successfully achieve just a fraction of this speed it would mean goods could be sent overland across the United States in hours rather than days. Thinking into the future it might be possible for Hyperloop ‘stations’ to be located near airports and other transport hubs. All sorts of cargo could be moved quickly and efficiently from city to city.
The underground Hyperloop would reduce traffic and smog congestion. Nick Earle, a Virgin Hyperloop One executive, told media earlier this year: “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 in to meet that one-hour deadline that’s in the contract for Amazon Prime.” But it won’t just be futuristic shipping containers being loaded into the pods. Virgin Hyperloop One is also designed to whizz humans from city to city at terrific speed. Hyperloop system could cut down city to city commutes by up to half the time. Again not only increasing speed but reducing environmental impacts of planes and potential traffic congestion.
Branson has clear vision for Hyperloop
Branson's appointment into the company's inner circle is a sure sign, the company has big plans for the next few years. In a statement released in time with his announcement the British billionaire spoke about the company’s recent investments, saying it “sets up the company to pursue opportunities in key markets in the Middle East, Europe, and Russia as it develops game-changing and innovative passenger and cargo ground transport systems.”