Hyperloop One transport system speeds forward with first test on full-scale track

There may be those who continue to raise an eyebrow or two at the idea of the Hyperloop One becoming a reality, but at least one of the companies behind the super-fast transportation system is intent on seeing the project through to completion.

Just a few weeks after Hyperloop One announced the first successful test of a full-scale version of its technology in a vacuum environment, the company has made an even more significant leap forward. On July 29, Hyperloop One completed a test on its full-scale test track in Nevada, with the Hyperloop pod traversing almost the entirety of the 1640-foot-long structure. The vehicle hit speeds of up to 192 miles per hour during the test, setting a new record for Hyperloop test speeds.

It took just five seconds for the pod to hit 192 mph, and its electric propulsion system produced more than 3,000 horsepower. The pod even managed to levitate a bit, thanks in part to the near-vacuum environment engineers created.

“This is the dawn of the age of commercialization for the hyperloop,” said Shervin Pishevar, Hyperloop One’s executive chairman and co-founder.

Earlier in July, Hyperloop One conducted another trial run of an “actual size” passenger pod, which managed to coast above the track for just over five seconds using magnetic levitation technology — better known as maglev — while reaching nearly 2 Gs of acceleration. That test hit a target speed of just 70 mph, though the successful run and subsequent trial means it can now move toward the next phase that will push the pod to a more exciting 250 mph.

Describing it as Hyperloop One’s “Kitty Hawk moment,” the team wrote about when the pod started moving:

“’Fire in 5. 4. 3. 2, and 1.’ There was a half-second delay. A clench in the throat. Then, sure enough, the sled shot off down the track, chased by the electromagnetic force from the stator. The wheel mounts rumbled along for a second, and then the rumbling stopped as the pod lifted off the track and glided for 3 seconds before coming to a halt on its own.”

The experimental run enabled the team to put various parts of the technology through its paces, including its highly efficient motor, vehicle suspension, maglev technology, electromagnetic braking, and vacuum pumping system, “proving the full system’s components operate successfully as a single integrated unit in a vacuum,” Hyperloop One said in a release.

Pishevar praised his team following the trial run, saying it had “accomplished what no one has done before by successfully testing the first full-scale Hyperloop system. By achieving full vacuum, we essentially invented our own sky in a tube, as if you’re flying at 200,000 feet in the air. For the first time in over 100 years, a new mode of transportation has been introduced. Hyperloop is real, and it’s here now.”

Update: Hyperloop One has completed its first full-scale test, reaching top speeds of 192 mph.