Make no mistake, after dropping the idea for the Hyperloop, leaving the improvement to others, then getting back into the game, Elon Musk is now taking the commercialisation of his Hyperloop idea very seriously!
Earlier this week, Musk held a student competition, which saw team WARR hit 201 mph with their “pusher pod” vehicle. Subsequently, Tesla itself broke that record hitting a new mark of 220 mph. Both records happened at the 0.8-mile-long SpaceX Hyperloop test track that runs parallel to the company in Hawthorne California.
The Tesla pod is not anywhere close to the supersonic speeds that Musk considers to be possible in the near vacuum of his test tube. And the slight 20 mph margin obtained by the Tesla pod makes the WARR achievement even more impressive, given the fairly small budget the students had to work with.
The team will try again with a couple of tweaks next month, with Musk shooting for a record 310 mph, half the speed of sound. However, Tesla’s CEO has already mused that a future team should easily be able to hit 500 to 600 mph on the same track.
Elon Musk first detailed the Hyperloop concept in August 2013. It was envisaged as aluminium units capable of transporting human passengers at speeds up to 800 mph.
At the time, he said that the development of a prototype could take maybe up to a couple of years if it was a top priority. However, this has not been the case, and a three or four years timeline is more realistic.
Those sound like great boasts, but Musk is not one for exaggeration. He actually often tries to limit expectations with his developments. Anyway, with Hyperloop now part of his purview along with Tesla and SpaceX, expect Musk’s companies to lead the tech news cycle even more than usual.