HyperloopTT wheels out its first full-scale passenger pod
Exactly five years after its founding, startup HyperloopTT is keen to show off the progress it has made by revealing its very first full-scale passenger pod. The sleek and futuristic capsule was presented at a ceremony in Spain celebrating the company's anniversary, and will apparently be ready to roll in a commercial sense sometime in 2019.
The first passenger pod from HyperloopTT has been dubbed Quintero One and is made largely from a composite material developed in-house called Vibranium, a nod to the fictional super-metal of the same name that features in Marvel Comics. It measures 32 m (105 ft) long on the outside with an interior cabin length of 15 m (50 ft), and has a total weight of 5 tons (11,000 lb).
"The creation of this capsule represents over a year long journey of the best expertise in design, engineering, and the development of cutting edge materials," said Dirk Ahlborn HyperloopTT co-founder and CEO. "In just five years we have solved and improved upon all of the technology needed for Hyperloop with our new levitation system, vacuum pumps, batteries, and smart composites. This capsule will be a part of one of the most efficient transportation systems ever made."
Following its presentation in Spain, the capsule will now be moved to the HyperloopTT's research and development center in Toulouse, France, where it is setting up its first test track. According to the company, Quintero One will start accepting rides next year.
"In 2019, this capsule will be fully optimized and ready for passengers," said Bibop Gresta, chairman and co-founder of HyperloopTT. "Since we have taken major steps in solving government regulations with our safety certification guidelines and insurance frameworks, we are now closer than ever to bringing Hyperloop to the world."
From the outside looking in, that timeline looks wildly optimistic. Where HyperloopTT has revealed a full-size pod and bits and pieces of a test track, rival Virgin Hyperloop One has shown off several prototypes and reached speeds of around 390 km/h (240 mph) on its own test track near Las Vegas last December.
Given the target speeds of a fully developed Hyperloop system are around 760 mph (1,223 km/h), there is obviously a lot of work to do to close the gap. Is it possible that HyperloopTT has made this kind of progress behind closed doors and that its first public demonstration of a functioning system will be one that moves at the speed of sound? Now that would be the kind of material befitting a Marvel Comic.