FluxJet, this futuristic transport between train and plane that can reach 1,000 km/h – Night Edition Ouest-France

It’s a transport system worthy of science fiction. Unveiled by Canadian start-up TransPod in July 2022, this all-electric innovation called FluxJet, inspired by Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept, aims to transport passengers and goods at an ultra-fast speed, superior to that of the plane. Its designers sell this project as being more economical and less polluting!

You dreamed of exploring the universe of Star Wars when you were a child? Canadian start-up TransPod, led by French Sébastien Gendron, brings us closer. It released in July 2022 in Toronto (Canada) plans for a new all-electric transport system, called FluxJet, at the intersection between train and plane, capable of transporting passengers at a speed of 1,000 km/h. That’s faster than an airplane and three times faster than a high-speed train. The hat is off!

This one “airplane without wings” uses the principle of the Hyperloop concept, made famous by American billionaire and Tesla boss Elon Musk, in 2013: the FluxJet will be propelled at ultra-fast speed in a tube, placed on poles a few meters from the ground. FluxJet’s magnetic pods, around which there is very low atmospheric pressure to reduce friction, will be propelled to over 1,000 km/h thanks to a magnetic field generated by an electric motor. A complex technology that makes the train appear to fly.

However, this speed will only be possible in rural areas. Once the vehicle enters an urban area, it will regain the pace of a lambda train, i.e. approximately 200 km/h.

Only 45 minutes by car instead of 3 hours by car

At the moment, start-up TransPod is focusing its efforts on a line that connects Calgary with Edmonton, two cities in western Canada about 300 km away, or a three-hour drive. It will take just 45 minutes to transport up to 54 passengers and 10 tons of cargo when this $18 billion line is built. Probably in 2035, according to Sébastien Gendron, co-founder and CEO of TransPod, interviewed by CNN. No official schedule has yet been released.

The purpose behind this futuristic innovation? Reduce travel times, of course, but also allow travel “more accessible”, according to a statement released on July 22, 2022. Hard to believe given the staggering amount that starting this project already requires. However, TransPod, which has already received $550 million (about €548 million) in funding, says: “Passengers will pay approximately 44% less than an airline ticket to use this Canadian corridor. »

Reduce CO₂ emissions

The start-up also highlights the ecological dimension of the FluxJet project. Its designers point out that it will reduce road traffic, with “CO₂ emissions of 636,000 tons per year”according to the start of its environmental impact assessment.

“This landmark is a big step forward” TransPod co-founder and chief technology officer Ryan Janzen said in the statement. “The FluxJet […] meets the needs of passengers to reduce our dependence on airplanes and highways that are heavily reliant on fossil fuels. »

A technology raises doubts

This futuristic mode of transport, developed in collaboration with European or American partners, is not intended to stop at Canadian borders. Sébastien Gendron, CEO of TransPod told CNN that “Discussions are already underway in Texas (USA) to link Dallas to San Antonio, in the United Arab Emirates to link Dubai to Abu Dhabi and in Australia to link Sydney to Brisbane. » On the other hand, France does not seem interested at the moment, according to him. However, a test track will open in Haute-Vienne in early 2023.

Given the difficulties of its predecessors, some engineers are watching this project with a cautious eye. Start-up Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) was planning to open a first section for Dubai World Expo in 2020, but its project has yet to see the light of day. Similarly, Virgin Hyperloop (formerly Hyperloop One), which first transported passengers in November 2020 at 172 km/h in the Nevada desert, announced in February 2022 that it was refocusing on freight transport.

Read too: What if a train arrived Paris-Marseille in 30 minutes?

Lots of promises around Hyperloop, which remain mirages for some. even one “enormous technical-intellectual fraud”, in the words of François Lacôte, former technical director at Alstom, quoted by Yves Crozet, transport economist, in an article for the popular science website The conversation. Even Elon Musk would have been seduced. In 2013, he allegedly proposed racing pods carrying people at speeds of 1,000 to 1,200 km/h, to urge lawmakers to abandon plans for a high-speed train between San Francisco and Los Angeles in the United States. Time. But he had no intention of building them.

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