Tesla Motors and SpaceX aren’t Elon Musk’s only major transportation-related projects. In fact, he’s also working on a train system where passengers could be shipped between cities at speeds close to the speed of sound. Called Hyperloop, the train is a mix between the Concorde plane, a railgun, and an air-hockey table, according to the inventor. And while Musk might not be overseeing this one directly, the Hyperloop project is slowly advancing.
Hyperloop Technologies recently teased on Twitter that it plans to make “huge” announcements from Las Vegas this week, although it’s not clear those announcements are.
According to Business Insider, the company announced in December that it was building the first test track at the Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas. The track measures just over half a mile, and the company is testing it for sending linear motors down the line at 330 mph.
By the end of the year, the company wants to build a Hyperloop system of two miles in length in which a levitating pod could be accelerated to 700 mph before being slowed down. The Hyperloop system would eventually consist of a low-pressure tube where a pod full of passengers would travel at speeds close to 767 miles per hour between destinations. A Hyperloop trip between Los Angels and San Francisco would only take 30 minutes.
The company on Monday did reveal more details about the kind of magnetic levitation system it’ll use for hits Hyperloop project, Business Insider reports. The company will rely on a passive magnetic levitation system developed by Lawrence Livermore National Labs.
Hyperloop Technologies said the magnetic fields in the tunnel will lift the pod before a “thrust force” is applied, which will then accelerate it to speeds of up to 767 mph. When the same force is applied for breaking the pod, the system’s battery is recharged through regenerative breaking.
“Utilising a passive levitation system will eliminate the need for power stations along the Hyperloop track, which makes this system the most suitable for the application and will keep construction costs low,” Hyperloop Transportation Technologies COO Bibop Gresta said. “From a safety aspect, the system has huge advantages, levitation occurs purely through movement, therefore, if any type of power failure occurs, Hyperloop pods would continue to levitate and only after reaching minimal speeds touch the ground.”