It’s not like us to rain on the parade of someone’s futuristic vision of mass transit, but we wouldn’t suggest you hold your breath at the ticket station for the arrival of Virgin’s Hyperloop anytime soon.
While Virgin fanboys might use the news of the recent human trials in the Hyperloop as testament to its impending success, it could also be seen as showing just how far this dream yet has to travel.
The concept looks cool and it is based on the premise of Elon Musk’s vision of magnetically levitating pods traveling through nearly airless tubes so that gives it another tick in the cool camp. But there is just that small thing of current reality.
After 6 years of building and testing and millions invested, the company has just now celebrated the delivery of two human passengers down 500 metres of tubing at a speed of 160km/h. Yes, this is just the start, but also factor in the huge infrastructure investment required to actually implement any working example of this between two destinations and the fact that there is no sign of any government contract yet, and this just remains a very pretty pod, a pipe and a dream.
Yes, that dream is a theoretical maximum speed of 1223 km/h which would make inter-city travel pretty quick of course, plus be very cool so we do wish them all the best. In the meantime, we will just use the end of this piece to give a shout out to the Shanghai Transrapid bullet train which has a top speed of 431 km/h and has been operating since 2004.