German Team Sets New Hyperloop Speed Record At SpaceX Competition

The WARR team with prodigal son Elon Musk. WARR

A team of German students has won SpaceX’s second Hyperloop competition, sending their pod to an impressive speed of 324 kilometers (201 miles) per hour.

The competition took place yesterday at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Here, they’ve got a 1.25-kilometer (0.8-mile) test track set up.

This track is almost a vacuum, with most of the air sucked out. This is integral to making Hyperloop a reality, with Elon Musk’s idea touting speeds of up to 1,225 kilometers (760 miles) per hour, and dramatically cutting transport times between cities if it ever becomes a reality.

The winning team was called WARR Hyperloop, and was one of three finalists that took part in the competition yesterday. The two other teams, Swissloop and Paradigm, hailed from Switzerland and the US and Canada respectively.

In a post on Twitter, Musk revealed a rather impressive video of the WARR pod in action. They had also taken part in the previous competition in January, when their pod also reached the top speed, back then just 58 mph.

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WARR’s pod, made of carbon fiber, weighed 80 kilograms (176 pounds) and used an electric motor to achieve its high speed. The students herald from the Technical University of Munich.

“By using an electric motor and therefore being independent from the SpaceX accelerator vehicle used by most competitors to gain speed, the team gave themselves an advantage over the other teams,” WARR said in a statement.

These teams are not the only ones developing Hyperloop systems. Two companies in the US, Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, have also been perfecting their own pods and test tracks. The former managed to send their pod down a tube at speeds of 310 kilometers (192 miles) per hour earlier this month

WARR's pod in the test track. WARR

When Musk first unveiled his Hyperloop idea in 2012, it seemed he would be taking a backseat to its development. But having now run a second competition, he appears to be actively involved in the idea, which may not be music to the ears of the two other companies involved.

On Twitter, Musk said that it might be possible for a Hyperloop pod to go supersonic in SpaceX’s test tube, despite it being relatively short. This is a speed of more than 1,235 kilometers (768 miles) per hour, basically the final promised speed of Hyperloop.

This would require extremely high acceleration and deceleration, although he noted this was only because the track was so short. “For passenger transport, this can be spread over 20+ miles, so no spilt drinks,” he added.

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