A team of German engineers has smashed the hyperloop speed record at SpaceX’s annual competition.
The WARR Hyperloop team from the Technical University of Munich broke the record by some 80km/h when its capsule hit 467km/h at the Hyperloop Pod Competition in California, USA.
The previous record for a hyperloop pod was 387km/h, set by Virgin Hyperloop One at its 500-metre DevLoop test track near Las Vegas in December 2017.
It is the third time the aerospace company — headed by billionaire engineer Elon Musk — has run the competition, and the third time WARR Hyperloop has won.
WARR Hyperloop team leader Gabriele Semino said for this year’s entry, the team focused on reducing weight while increasing drive performance. They built the shell from lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced composite materials and designed a more aerodynamic shape.
They also replaced the previous model’s 50-kilowatt motor with eight smaller motors.
While the record speed is still some way off Musk’s vision to hit the speed of sound, close to 1,200km/h, Semino said that with a longer track it could be possible to go faster.
“The tube in front of the SpaceX building in Los Angeles is only 1.2 kilometres long, and the pod has to accelerate to full speed and then brake again within this distance,” said Semino. “This is a gigantic challenge. Our pod accelerates five times faster than an airplane during take-off.”
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