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Eat our dust, Elon Musk. Virgin’s Hyperloop One sets crazy new speed record

Virgin’s Hyperloop One has set a new speed record with its hyperloop pod transportation system, leaving Elon Musk’s efforts to this point in the dust.

The magnetic pod achieved speeds up to a jaw-dropping 240 miles per hour — or 351 feet every second — at DevLoop, the world’s first full-scale hyperloop test site in the Nevada desert. That’s 48 miles per hour faster than its initial tests last summer, and 20 miles per hour faster than the previous record set by Musk’s hyperloop pod. If you’ve ever wanted a preview of what it’s like to travel at hundreds of miles per hour in a hyperloop, check out the video above.

“The XP-1 Virgin Hyperloop One’s test pod performed as designed, handling high speeds and levitating in a vacuum tube depressurized to the equivalent of flying at 200,000 feet above sea level,” Ryan Kelly, director of marketing for Hyperloop One, told Digital Trends. “In the testing footage, you can see a 28.5-foot-long and 8.9-foot-tall vehicle propel at high-speeds down the world’s first full-system hyperloop test track. This test brings the vision of the hyperloop much closer to reality.”

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The test was carried out on December 15, although the company announced the news this week. During the test, all components of the system were put through their paces — including the airlock, electric motor, advanced controls and power electronics, custom magnetic levitation and guidance, pod suspension, and the vacuum.

The tests were conducted in a 1,600-foot-long concrete test tube. Kelly thinks that greater speeds will be achieved in the future, although you will likely have to wait a bit to see them — but it’s not the pod’s fault. “DevLoop is a short track and speed is an output of length,” he said. “As systems get longer, you’ll see faster speeds.”

Hyperloop One also announced that it has raised an additional $50 million to help continue making its high-speed dreams into reality. The record that we would absolutely love to see next? Actually getting this thing to market so that we can try it for ourselves. We’re resigned to the fact that this may take a little while longer, though.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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