Elon Musk's Hyperloop hurtles closer: Public demo plus $80m injection

On top of a public propulsion system demo, renamed startup Hyperloop One's new funding injection shows investor confidence in the potential of Elon Musk's high-speed Hyperloop transport concept.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One has announced new funding as it prepares for an open-air demonstration of its propulsion system in Las Vegas.

The Hyperloop startup says it's secured a further $80m in a second round of financing and linked up with traditional transportation groups, such as the French national rail company.

Its goal is to launch a full-scale test by the end of the year, but this week it's showing off the propulsion component of the technology.

The firm also announced a name change to Hyperloop One from Hyperloop Technologies, to distinguish itself from its main rival, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.

Hyperloop technology hit the spotlight after Tesla and Space X boss Elon Musk outlined its potential in a 2013 proposal for a transport system to deliver passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 35 minutes. Musk argued it would be cheaper and safer than the current high-speed rail link being built in California.

The transport pods would carry passengers or vehicles through low-pressure tubes at a speed of 760mph (1,220kph). Musk envisaged "air bearings" to keep the pods suspended at high speeds and deployable wheels for low speeds.

Some have doubted Musk's estimates that a San Francisco to Los Angeles Hyperloop would cost under $6bn.

Countering skeptics, Hyperloop One's CEO Rob Lloyd said the "Hyperloop is real" and that the firm will "reduce its cost of the Hyperloop until it is two-thirds the cost of a high-speed rail system", the Wall Street Journal reported.

Co-founders of Hyperloop One include Uber investor Shervin Pishevar and former SpaceX engineer Brogan BamBrogan.

The firm also announced the Hyperloop One Global Challenge to find potential locations around the world to build early Hyperloop networks.

"The Hyperloop One Global Challenge is not an engineering competition: we bring the technology, you tell us how it should be used in your location," the competition page reads.

Hyperloop One is working with partners in Sweden to scope the potential for a Hyperloop link between Finland's and Sweden's respective capitals, Helsinki and Stockholm. It also announced cargo-focused partnerships in Switzerland and LA.

Submissions close on September 15 and winners will be announced in March 2017.

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