Hyperloop One conducted the first full-scale system test (via The Verge), achieving full vacuum conditions in its closed-tube environment with a test pod that’s the actual size of what it envisions for its production systems. The ultra high-speed transit system didn’t pull off any speed records, however, with the test pod vehicle topping out at 70 miles per hour on H1’s test track in Nevada.
The Hyperloop One system test wasn’t designed for speed, however, and achieved its goals of reaching full vacuum conditions within the tube, according to Hyperloop One co-founder Shervin Pishevar. This means that the test pod was basically traveling in conditions similar to an aircraft flying at around 200,000 feet in the air, where the lack of air resistance allows for much higher travel speeds. This is how Hyperloop hopes to achieve its goal of hyper-speed travel.
The next goal for the 1,640-foot test track and Hyperloop One is to achieve greater speeds, with an interim target of hitting 250 mph along the stretch. That’s still quite short of the ultimate potential top speed of a hyperloop system, which is around 750 mph, but those speeds are theoretical, and the test track is much shorter than planned future commercial installations.
There’s still a lot to work out before Hyperloop One can begin offering service in its inaugural planned projects, including a system connecting Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which is expected to achieve speeds of 500 mph. But progress is progress, and a full-scale test is definitely a step in the right direction.