However, it is still a project. An invention that, although it may become a reality, is currently in the prototype phase, still pending its first demonstration.
Of course, it is expected that the demonstration of the new system, devised by Elon Musk, founder of companies such as PayPal or Tesla Motors, can be carried out this year. For now, the first tests are being carried out in the Nevada desert, in the United States.
While the long-awaited demonstration is being produced and more is known about these small tests, the internet has gone crazy with the first details published about this invention powered by solar energy.
According to its creators, it will mark a before and after in transport worldwide, and not only in land, because if things go as planned in many cases it could even be a good alternative to the plane.
What is the Hyperloop system?
Everything we know about this peculiar high-speed train can be found in the 57 pages of the report that Musk spread through the Tesla Motors blog. It includes details on key aspects for its manufacture and operation, including the necessary technology and estimated costs.
For example, it is known that the Hyperloop will be able to reach 1,200 kilometers per hour thanks to its movement within a tube, thus minimizing the traditional friction between wagons and rails.
In the absence of that friction that normally occurs in trains, great things are achieved in terms of energy efficiency. We manage to keep the transport moving for most of the journey at a constant speed for the first 160 km, although this will decrease due to friction.
Even if this is minimal and your momentum is used to the maximum, in the long run it reduces the speed and it will be necessary to give a certain impulse again. This is how it manages to maintain an incredible speed while consuming very little energy. A fuel that also comes from renewable sources.
According to its theoretical model, it can skim the sound barrier (1,234 km / h), traveling at 1,220 kilometers per hour. That is to say, the train (some wagons that circulate encapsulated inside the tube) would slide without needing extra impulse around 160 km.
Why is it sustainable?
In percentages, extra energy would be required only for 5 percent of the journey, and this would be obtained from solar energy.
Powering the system in situ, through solar panels installed along the route, is also an interesting way to reduce the carbon footprint normally associated with fuel transport.
Unlike other inventions, such as the famous Japanese high-speed train, this one dispenses with rails. It moves inside a tube in which the vacuum is made. There is no conventional track, so more than sliding it levitates, just as magnetic trains do.
Consequently, the friction is negligible. Of course, the necessary environmental conditions must exist so that the vacuum system can be maintained on a large scale, which raises numerous technological problems that must be solved.
An accessible transport
In addition to not having a serious impact on the planet, although at an environmental and landscape level it could be, Hyperloop is affordable for the passenger's pocket. According to the study presented, a ticket would be around 20 dollars, a very cheap price considering that it is a long-distance transport.
However, the cost of the project is far from being economical. At least, as an investment, regardless of its subsequent amortization. According to the report, it would take $ 6 billion to build two lines, roundtrip, between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In total, a distance of 550 kilometers would be covered that would take only 30 minutes to travel. As its creators have foreseen, there would be 40 capsules with capacity for 28 passengers each.
An investment that, being high, is economical if we compare it with the stratospheric amounts reached by the high-speed trains that are now being considered in the United States, For example, the project that, between now and 2019, will unite the main cities of California will reach about 70,000 million dollars.
According to Musk, the Hyperloop will not be able to compete with the supersonic plane when it comes to traveling long distances or in almost opposite cases, like this:
The Hyperloop (or something similar) is the solution for the specific case of two cities where there is a lot of traffic and which are less than 1,500 kilometers from each other. In contrast, the supesonic flight would be faster and cheaper for longer distances.
But what would it be like to travel in this strange means of transport? Musk assures that the experience would be comfortable. "The trip would be very smooth," he explains, as the inside of the wagons would levitate at very low pressure, which would allow the capsules or wagons to move suspended in the air. Musk is convinced that this is a viable project that can achieve something new by adding existing technology. Many great inventions have been built like this, like a puzzle. We'll see how this ends. What cannot be denied is that the future may hold great changes that are respectful of the environment.