France will build Europe's first 'test' hyperloop track

Hyperloop will bring futuristic super-fast transportation.

Ramy Caspi
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Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is building Europe’s first futuristic transportation system, the Hyperloop.

If you are unfamiliar with Hyperloop, let me fill you in. Hyperloop is a vision created by Tesla’s Elon Musk. The idea is to use magnets and small turbines that propel a pod through a vacuum tube at speeds of up to 760mph. This technology, which uses super-powered magnets to levitate carrier pods, could cut the time taken to travel between major cities by several hours.

HyperloopTT has revealed that the first phase of its plan includes a closed 320 meter system that will be operational this year near its research and development  centre in Toulouse, France. In addition, a second full-scale system of 1 km elevated by pylons at a height of 5.8 meters will be completed in 2019.  With an interior diameter of 4.0 meters, the system is optimised both for passenger capsules and shipping containers. The full-scale passenger capsule, currently near completion at Carbures in Spain, is scheduled for delivery to the facility this summer for assembly and integration.

Using the hyperloop system, passengers or cargo will be loaded into the pod and they will accelerate at high speeds.

Dirk Ahiborn, current CEO of HyperloopTT  has said,”Hyperloop is more than just displays of rapid acceleration and more than just breaking speed records. The real opportunity is to create an efficient and safe system with an unparalleled passenger experience."

HTT has signed deals with officials in Ohio, South Korea and India to build Hyperloop tracks but is yet to announce plans for a European route.

“Building in full-scale means we’re committed to innovation in the long-term,” said Bibop Gresta, HyperloopTT Chairman. “We’ve pioneered the technology, proved feasible and insurable by the world’s largest reinsurance company, Munich RE".

Hyperloop technology is still a new technology, and it has not yet been fully proven. While the system sounds attractive, so far the fastest speeds achieved have only been 240mph, which was done by Virgin Hyperloop One, and not the 760mph promised.

By contrast, rival company Virgin Hyperloop One have conducted three demonstrations in the desert of Las Vegas and has deals with Dubai and Saudi Arabia. In the UK routes the compay said that it would be the world’s first hyperloop, including a ‘North-South Connector’ that could bring journey times from London to Edinburgh of 50 minutes. Virgin has also said that they believe that the service could be in operations by 2021.