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Elon Musk said he'll try to break the Hyperloop speed record 'soon'


The current Hyperloop speed record is 240 mph

  • On Sunday, Elon Musk said on Twitter that he plans to test a Tesla and SpaceX-branded Hyperloop pod at half the speed of sound "soon."

  • The test's objective is to accelerate the pod to around 383 mph and bring it to a stop within around 3/4 of a mile.

  • If the test succeeds, Musk would break the record set by Virgin Hyperloop One in December.

Between building electric cars and sending rockets into space, Elon Musk has plenty to keep him busy. But the tech mogul also wants to reinvent public transportation with the Loop and Hyperloop high-speed transit systems.

On Saturday, he said on Twitter that he plans to test a Tesla and SpaceX-branded Hyperloop pod at half the speed of sound "soon." The test's objective is to accelerate the pod to around 383 mph and bring it to a stop within around 3/4 of a mile.

"This is kinda nutty for such a short distance, so could easily end up being shredded metal, but exciting either way," Musk said on Twitter.

In August, the Tesla and SpaceX-branded pod hit a top speed of 220 mph, which was the fastest recorded speed for a Hyperloop pod at the time.

Musk wants to build tunnels for Hyperloop systems

Hyperloop is a high-speed transit system first proposed by Musk in a 2013 white paper. The system would send passengers in pressurized electric pods through vacuum-sealed tubes at over 600 mph. Musk wants to use his tunnel-digging company, The Boring Company, to create an underground tunnel network that could house Hyperloop and Loop — a lower-speed alternative for shorter distances — systems.

While Musk has faced resistance from city governments and public transit experts, he's received permission to build test tunnels in California and Baltimore, and The Boring Company is one of two finalists to build a new transit system between Chicago's downtown area and O'Hare International Airport.

Musk's biggest competition is Virgin Hyperloop One

But Musk isn't the only one working to develop Hyperloop systems. His most prominent competition is Virgin Hyperloop One, which unveiled a working prototype of a passenger pod, called the Vision 2030 Hyperloop Pod, last week. The company was hosting Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia's crown prince and minister of defense, at its test site in the Mojave Desert.

The demonstration was part of a proposal to build a Hyperloop system in Saudi Arabia. Virgin Hyperloop One co-founder and CTO Josh Giegel said such a system would shorten "commute times from hours into minutes," in a press release, which claimed its Hyperloop system would be two to three times faster than traditional high-speed rail, and in some cases, accomplish some trips nearly ten times faster than is currently possible through public transportation.