On Saturday, July 29 an exhausted and adrenaline-fueled team from Hyperloop One celebrated another significant milestone, completing the second phase of testing our high-speed Hyperloop pod inside our DevLoop tube north of Las Vegas. By the last run, after almost a week of trials, we had logged more time working with full-scale Hyperloop technology than anyone on the planet.
Farther and faster was our mantra for this phase, and our XP-1 test pod went 4.5 times farther and three times faster than our initial runs in May. The XP-1 went as fast as 310 km per hour (190 mph) and reached a maximum distance of 437 meters (1,433 feet) in DevLoop. That’s using only 300 meters of stator for propulsion. With an additional 2,000 meters of stator, they would have hit 1,100 km per hour or 700 mph.
The XP-1 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. Seeing a 28.5-foot-long and 8.9-foot-tall vehicle propel at high-speeds down that track brings the vision of the Hyperloop much closer to reality.
Our Kitty Hawk moment with that first flight in May had tension and historical weight to it, but this recent phase 2 testing was more rewarding. This felt like an inevitability, not the kind that belies the difficulty of the task, but one that comes from preparation, dedication, and hard work – from near flawless execution. The team at our Apex site in Nevada put in long, hot days for weeks to get us through this milestone, installing hundreds of feet of additional track, motor, and braking systems, making constant hardware improvements to the vehicle and controls, and getting the XP-1 aeroshell delivered and installed on the chassis. Everyone at the LA Innovation Campus and our Metalworks shop supported the effort even if they couldn’t be there. No one in the world has done this kind of Hyperloop testing before, and the team has already solidified it into a confident and well-practiced routine. Only a handful of teams would have even attempted a project so audacious – far fewer could have achieved it.
Technology has changed radically since the last new major mode of transportation. The process of invention has not. Orville Wright’s first flight was 12 seconds and 120 feet. He and Wilbur scrutinized the Flyer, made adjustments, and went up again. Three more flights that day and each one a little farther. We like that approach: Run a pod, study the data, re-run a pod. With each test, you go a little farther, a little faster, and bring the Hyperloop a lot closer to reality.