Proposed to the world almost ten years ago by Elon Musk, the open-to-all industrial research project known as “Hyperloop” seems to have taken a serious turn for the worse. At the SpaceX site in California, the test tube for the Hyperloop is destroyed.
The technological lock has never been broken
What if the Hyperloop never saw the light of day? Proposed by Elon Musk in 2013, this concept quickly won over many companies. These – including SpaceX – then began research into what was presented as the means of transport of the future. As explained Bloomberg in an article dated November 3, 2022, SpaceX has just abandoned its plans in this area. Near its offices in Hawthorne, California (USA), the test tube for the Hyperloop is being torn down and replaced by parking for employees. The tunnel in question would also be out of service since early 2022.
According to the American newspaper, the project never succeeded break the technological lock, i.e. the obstacle(s) linked to the technological spaces chosen in the research and development programme. It could be, for example, a material limitation or even insufficient resources. Remember that the basic idea of the concept is very ambitious because it involves circulating – in a raised double tube – capsules with passengers and cargo. The interior of the tubes is under low pressure to limit the friction of the air and thus hope to reach unprecedented speeds over 1,000 km/h.
Research continues elsewhere
The abandonment of SpaceX represents a new sign of the concept tend to run very low on steam. Recall that in February 2022 the company Virgin Hyperloop decided to abandon its passenger transport project to focus on a freight transport concept. Let us also quote the statements of the famous French engineer François Lacôte in 2018, after describing the Hyperloop as “enormous techno-intellectual scam”. The expert had stated on this occasion several technical dead ends which, according to him, makes it impossible to apply the concept in reality.
Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize that Hyperloop research actors are quite a lot. Some are even still very active, such as the Canadian company TransPod and its prototype presented in August 2022. In July 2021, HyperloopTT presented its ultra-fast container transport concept. We should also mention the Dutch start-up Hardt Hyperloop, which in 2020 carried out an extensive feasibility study of a line connecting Amsterdam to Paris in just 1.30.