SpaceX dismantles its Hyperloop and turns it into a parking lot |

For years, Elon Musk talked about the Hyperloop as the form of transportation that would forever change the way we get around. It consisted of a system of magnetically propelled capsules at extremely high speeds through a system of tubes.

A revolutionary concept, no doubt, and one that quickly aroused the interest of other companies in making their own version. However, it seems that the future of this project is not so bright anymore, at least in the eyes of the new owner of Twitter, who decided to dismantle its test track to install a parking lot for SpaceX employees.

As reported by Bloomberg, the final destination of the approximately 1.6 km long tunnel was decided a few months ago. Erik Wright, owner of Precision Construction Services, the company chosen in 2016 to build it, told Bloomberg that he was notified of the dismantling via text message.

The Hyperloop test track was located in Hawthorne, California, near SpaceX’s offices, parallel to Jack Northrop Avenue. Since its opening, the tunnel has not only been used to graphically explain Elon Musk’s futuristic transport vision, but also to host student competitions. In 2018, for example, a German team managed to make a capsule travel at more than 460 kilometers per hour in a trip of less than 2 kilometers.

Does the demolition of the Hyperloop test track mean Elon Musk threw the project overboard? Not necessarily. But it shows that the initiative is not at the heart of its current plans, nor those of SpaceX. It is possible that in the future, as technological possibilities allow, the idea will win again. But that doesn’t seem to be the case today.

The businessman himself addressed the matter earlier this year. Last April, he said on Twitter: “ Over the next few years, Boring Co. will try to build a working Hyperloop. From the point of view of known physics, it is the fastest way to get from the center of a city to another for distances of less than 3,200 kilometers.“.

The future of the Hyperloop, a question mark, and not just for SpaceX

It is precisely The Boring Company, the other point that suggests that the Hyperloop is no longer a central plan in Elon Musk’s mind. The fact that the company is focused on creating tunnels for cars to circulate underground, with the aim of reducing traffic congestion on the street, makes it clear that the idea of ​​high-speed magnetic capsules may not be viable in a few years or even decades.

What are the main challenges of high-speed magnetic capsules? That certain crucial elements such as sensors, batteries and electronics to manage energy have not evolved enough.

It will also be interesting to see how the dismantling of SpaceX’s test track is viewed by other companies experimenting with Hyperloop today. Today, one of the most advanced is Virgin, which intends to start commercial use of Hyperloop One in 2027. Richard Branson’s firm wants to use it initially in Saudi Arabia and India, but for that it will have to make significant progress in the next five years. years old.

In November 2020, Virgin successfully completed the first passenger test on Hyperloop One. But it was with a capsule for two passengers and at a distance of only 500 meters. Impressive? Yes, but we are still far from the 28 passengers that the company promises to carry on trips of several hundred or thousands of kilometers.

In Spain there is also a very interesting Hyperloop project. It is the Valencian company Zeleros that has managed to establish itself as the most interesting option to promote this transport concept in Europe. With good funding and expectations of international expansion, this is a project that has attracted a lot of attention and seems to have great potential. It will be necessary to see if it can find a more important place in the “futuristic trains” market, or if the possible disinterest of Elon Musk and SpaceX ends up cooling the other proposals around this idea.

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