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HYPERLOOP
Challenges Running
at Top Speed
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FOREWORD
In 2013, Elon Musk launched the Hyperloop concept, an ultra-high-
speed terrestrial means of transportation by tube. Academics and
engineers around the world have followed the entrepreneur's lead and
started developing their own tube-based transport projects.
The flurry of R&D and investment in new ultra-high-speed guided
transport systems based on Hyperloop Alpha has led Leonard,
VINCI's foresight and innovation platform, to prepare this new
Emerging Trends study, which reviews and debates the opportunities
and challenges of this next-generation mode of transport.
Non-conventional low-speed systems (MGV, shuttles and magnetic
levitation metros) or the least accomplished ones (Skyway) have been
deliberately excluded from this study.
Paris, June 2021
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TABLE OF CONTENTS – HYPERLOOP
I. Futuristic… and already a hundred!
II. The Hyperloop Alpha Concept
III. Real-Life Hyperloop
IV. Rising to Challenges
V. A Future for Hyperloop?
• Magnetically Yours
• With or Without Air
• SwissMetro: A Hyperloop in 1992
• Elon Musk
• Which Challenges to Keep Its Promise?
• Virgin Hyperloop
• Transpod
• Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT)
• Hardt Hyperloop
• Zeleros
• Nevomo
• An Unfavourable Context
• Topography Leads to Extra Costs
• Crucial Technical Mastery
• Safety Determines Regulations
• Economic and Energetic Relevance
• A Hyperloop for Freight
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26
29
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32
42
49
53
58
62
66
72
76
77
81
86
96
101
108
111
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THE TRANSPORT OF THE FUTURE…
HAS JUST TURNED A HUNDRED!
A system birthed a century ago has been
granted a new lease of life
H Y P E R L O O P
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WHAT IS HYPERLOOP ?
Friction causes objects to slow down. To increase speed,
it is therefore preferable to reduce, or even eliminate friction.
To achieve this, a vehicle, called a capsule or pod, is placed
inside a tube with reduced air pressure and moves forward within
this tube.
In extreme cases, it is preferable to create a vacuum in order
to eliminate compression issues in the front of the vehicle.
This idea has been on the table since the nineteenth century,
but up until now, it has come up against technological readiness
and investment issues.
In 2013, Elon Musk associated his name with this transport system,
and coined the term Hyperloop Alpha. He therefore relaunched
the idea and announced that the system would allow users to travel
from Los Angeles to San Francisco (550 km) in 30 minutes,
for a provisional cost of 5.1 billion euros. However, SpaceX creator
Elon Musk has chosen not to develop Hyperloop himself.
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FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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MAGNETICALLY YOURS
Hyperloop
The Transport of the Future… has just turned a Hundred!
For more than a century, research has been undertaken to create a mode
of transport without contact, propelled by a magnetic field.
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IN 1914, ÉMILE BACHELET BUILT A DEMONSTRATOR
FOR THE FIRST EVER “MAGNETIC LEVITATION TRAIN”.
SINCE THEN, ENGINEERS HAVE DREAMT OF REACHING 1,000 KM/H.
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FUTURISTE… ET DÉJÀ CENTENAIRE !
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MAGNETIC LEVIATION IS STILL AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE
50 years of experiments
First prototype in Germany,
1970 (Transrapid 01),
and then in 1972, in Japan
(Maglev ML100).
6 lines, 77 km in total
6 lines with magnetic levitation
provide commercial service.
They are not all designed
for high-speed travel.
603 km/h
In 2015, a Japanese Maglev L0
series reached 603 km/h.
This is 4,4% faster than the
French TGV.
FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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THE GERMAN TRANSRAPID
IS ADOPTED BY THE CHINESE
In 1979, the Transrapid 05 was the first ever train with magnetic
levitation to carry passengers. However, its considered
Berlin-Hamburg line never saw the day because of prohibitive cost.
The only Transprapid line currently in service is a shuttle between
Shanghai and Pudong airport (30 km) - this Transrapid reaches
501 km/h (431 km/h under normal service conditions).
Launched in 2002, this German technology, assembled in China,
has allowed Chinse industry to claim the technology as their own.
It has since been transferred to CRRC by Siemens
and ThyssenKrupp.
The Transrapid airport shuttle in Shanghai is constantly in deficit.
Its average load factor stands at 20%. This is partially explained
by the relative lack of commodities of the line which does not
travel directly to the town centre.
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FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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The Japanese Maglev (JR-Maglev, alias SCMaglev) relies on a technique which uses superconductors. The forces lifting the vehicle
are also those that enable it to move forward and keep it in the centre of the track. In 2009, a decision was taken to build a Maglev linking
Tokyo to Nagoya, two cities separated by 258 km, which could be connected in 40 minutes, or twice as quickly as with the high-speed
train already in service. This 286 km line would include 256.6 km of tunnels and 11.3 km of viaducts and would cost some 55 billion
dollars. It would feature 16 carriage units (1,000 passengers) – it is scheduled to open in 2027. JR have also considered extending the line
to Osaka, (403 km from Tokyo) by 2025.
THE MAGLEV HALVES RAIL TRANSIT TIME
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FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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Transrapid
The Shanghai Transrapid uses
electromagnetic suspension (EMS).
To lift the train, passive magnetic
materials are placed beneath the
line, and electromagnets facing
upwards are secured to the train.
This is why the vehicle comes right
up to the sides of the track. Unlike
electrodynamic systems, the
Transrapid operates permanently at
top speed and does not require a
lower speed “landing train” - this
facilitates the construction of the
lines.
JR-Maglev (SCMaglev)
The JR-Maglev uses
electrodynamic suspension (EDS).
Magnets (superconductor or
permanent) are placed inside the
vehicle, which creates currents,
induced in coils (integrated into
the line panels), as the vehicle
passes by them. The result creates
an electromagnetic field which
interacts with that of the train,
thus making it levitate and
propelling it forward. The
advantage of superconductivity is
that is allows for stronger
magnetic fields.
Larger trains/line distances are
necessary for very high speeds.
The main disadvantages of this
technology, besides construction
and running costs (the
superconductor magnets must be
cooled at a very low temperature),
are the safety risks linked to a
potential exposure of passengers
to magnetic fields. The system
does not guarantee levitation at
low speeds. It is therefore
necessary to ass wheels to the
train for operation at lower speed.
FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
EMS OR EDS? A DECISIVE TECHNOLOGICAL CHOICE
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CRRC HAS ENTERED THE RACE
China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) is a Chinese state
company which has become the world’s largest constructor of rail
equipment.
In 2016, CRRC announced it intended to create a train running with
magnetic levitation capable of exceeding 600 km/h, a speed
already reached by the Japanese Maglev. A life-size model of the
new train was presented in 2019.
Separated by 1,300 km, Shanghai and Beijing are already connected
by a high-speed train. Magnetic levitation should allow this journey
to be reduced from 4 to 2 hours.
FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS OF MAGNETIC LEVITATION
Speed at maximum and cruise levels greater
than that of a high-speed train
Risk of derailment is theoretically absent
Reduced noise pollution
Cost of a fully equipped line is notably higher
than that of a high-speed train line
Problems of electromagnetic compatibility
with other neighbouring electronic devices
Possible effects of electromagnetic fields on the health of users
Incompatibility of magnetic levitation
with the transport of heavy goods
Energy consumption twice as high as high-speed rail
Incompatibility with traditional train networks
FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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A FUTURE FOR OPEN-AIR MAGNETIC
LEVITATION
The Hyperloop announcement has not affected large open-air magnetic
levitation schemes launched before or after this event
In the result of research and tests undertaken over half a century, open air
magnetic levitation proves to be capable of reaching 600 km/h. Aerodynamics
create an increase close to the highest possible speed for a mainline plane
flying at a low altitude.
From Beijing to Shanghai, or along the Tokyo-Nagoya-Kyoto axis, new lines
with magnetic levitation are set to split travel time in half, compared to that of
high-speed train lines already in service.
The circulation in a low air pressure tube further reduces aerodynamic
constraints, but adds issues linked to creating and maintaining a total or partial
vacuum.
These are numerous and complex. The space sector already deals with some of
these issues.
FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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WITH OR WITHOUT AIR ?
Hyperloop
The Transport of the Future… has just turned a Hundred!
By definition, the air around us opposes a resistance to movement, yet certain
technologies try to utilize this phenomenon to their advantage, using it like
a cushion that eliminates friction and isolates it from the vehicle’s guiding
equipment. From “Vactrain” depression systems to the Aerotrain, Hyperloop
Alpha integrates ideas which have already been explored.
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HYPERLOOP IS THE SUCCESSOR OF “VACTRAINS”
THAT RUN INSIDE A TUBE CONTAINING LOW-PRESSURE AIR
The idea of lowering pressure in a tube to move
a vehicle forward appeared in the nineteenth
century.
Created to connect the American coasts, the project
was rumoured to be faster than the plane.
Hyperloop projects are presented in a transparent tube
whose cost could penalise the project.
Levitation and propulsion of the capsule can rely
on magnetic systems alone.
Without a frontal compressor or vacuum, the tube
section would have to be much larger than the vehicle.
If the air in the tube is close to a vacuum, the most
ambitious projects could reach 4,000 km/h.
FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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SIMPLE AND EFFICIENT:
AIR CUSION LEVITATION
Pioneered in 1965
Jean Bertin’s Aérotrain is
guided by a line shaped like
an inverted T. The train
levitates above the line
using an air cushion and it
is driven by a motor and
propeller.
The use of an air cushion
The air cushion eliminates
friction and allows the
vehicle to glide over a
surface. This works over
water (Hovercraft,
Naviplane), land
(Terraplane) and with
guided transport (Aérotrain).
430 km/h
Equipped with a reactor, the
Aérotrain I80 reached
430 km/h in 1974.
An alternative to
magnetic levitation
In a tube where a vacuum is
“partial”, the residual air
would allow the generation
of an air cushion beneath
the vehicle, according to
Elon Musk’s blueprint. This
is a much more cost-
effective solution than
magnetic levitation.
FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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Travelling at top speed,
yet incompatible
with train networks,
the Aérotrain was
shelved in 1974
and replaced
with high-speed electric
TGV trains after the first
oil crisis.
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FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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Born in France in 2016, the Spacetrain project
also uses the Aérotrain’s air cushion and inverted T-line systems,
to which it adds linear induction motors
that could reach 540 km/h.
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FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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SWISSMETRO:
A HYPERLOOP IN 1992
Hyperloop
The Transport of the Future… has just turned a Hundred!
Close to current Hyperloop projects, SwissMetro was nonetheless
developed in the early 90s, but finally judged impossible to operate
in the foreseeable future.
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TWENTY YEARS BEFORE HYPERLOOP,
ITS PRINCIPLES WERE RESEARCHED BY SWISSMETRO
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FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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In the early 70s, Rodolphe Nieth launched the SwissMetro project. Supported on a scientific level by École polytechnique fédérale
de Lausanne (EPFL), a preliminary study was funded by the Swiss Confederation as well as private companies. It was completed in March
1993. From 1992 onwards, the Swissmetro SA was founded, gathering the necessary financial support for a more detailed study.
WITH SWISSMETRO, SWITZERLAND COULD HAVE BECOME A VILLAGE
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FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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Contact-free Energy
Transport System
Tunnel Coating
Linear Motor
and Guiding Inductors
Levitation Inductors
Air Vacuum Panel
inside Tunnel
Sidewalk for Emergency
Evacuation
Emergency Guiding
and Brake System
SwissMetro
20 years
of research
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FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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Cross-section diagram of two proposed tunnels with vehicles
Proposal A (Engine inside tunnel) Proposal B (On-board motor)
A1 = Induction energy transmission
A2 = Linear motors attached to the tunnel
A3 = Guiding inductor
A4 = Levitation inductor
B1 = Induction energy transmission
B2 = Linear on-board motors
B3 = Guiding inductor
B4 = Levitation inductor
SWISSMETRO
TECHNOLOGY AND OPERATION
500 km/h transport in a tube where pressure has been lowered
to that met by a Concorde flying at an altitude of 18 000 m.
600 km/h could be reached, according to a simulation.
Installation underground, with stations placed beneath existing
train stations.
Attractivity which incited the development of this transport
with a view to replacing individual cars
Innovative exploitation with a determined frequency, allowing
for a fixed interstation schedule time (12 minutes), irrespective
of distance between stations (48 to 130 km). This imposes a strong
variation of maximum speeds between sections.
Vehicles of 80 m weighing 50 tons for 208 seats,
or possibly, 130 metres, 85 tons and 416 seats.
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FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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SwissMetro declared the project unfeasible
in the foreseeable future
In November 2009, the SwissMetro SA board of directors concluded that the project
for an underground magnetic levitation train was not feasible in keeping
with the agreed deadline. At the time, Pierre Triponez, president of SwissMetro SA,
declared: “We would not be so far from achieving SwissMetro if an investor had
pitched in. Yet up until now, the authorities are waiting for a sign from the economic
sector and vice versa. One cannot speak of the death of SwissMetro,
since the project never saw the light of day”. With the dissolution of SwissMetro SA,
the rights to the project have been transferred to EPFL who are now working
on a Hyperloop. SwissMetro only raised 11 million Swiss francs of investment
for its research, half of which was allocated by the Swiss Confederation.
The Pro SwissMetro organisation does not share the analysis of the board of
directors and considers that in the mid term, the project could still be up and
running.
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FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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ELON MUSK
Hyperloop
The Transport of the Future… has just turned a Hundred!
The entrepreneur has become the mentor of Hyperloop.
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ELON MUSK
A Prolific Entrepreneur
Elon Musk is a company director born in 1971, in South Africa,
and granted American citizenship in 2002. He is often presented
as the creator of Paypal and Tesla, though in reality, he purchased
and developed these companies. He did, however, create SpaceX
and Neuralink, amongst others - companies with surprising
ambitions. Elon Musk has plans which are visionary for some,
and unrealistic according to others, like, for example, his tweets
announcing the creation of a human colony on Mars
with a million inhabitants between now and 2050.
Initiator of the Hyperloop Dynamic
In August 2013, Elon Musk distributed the Hyperloop Alpha
Concept paper detailing his vision of transport powered by a linear
motor, in a tube where air is maintained under low pressure.
The entrepreneur has organised competitions to foster initiative
among companies willing to develop a Hyperloop. However, Elon
Musk has not directly taken part in creating a Hyperloop. Despite
incomplete research, he has announced that this system would
cost ten times less than a potential high speed trainline running
between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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Why hasn’t Elon Musk protected
Hyperloop?
The concept is difficult to protect since it is adapted
from SwissMetro guiding principles.
Why hasn’t Elon Musk
invested in Hyperloop?
To date, it seems more secure for Elon Musk
to position himself theoretically, than for him to invest
massively in the first commercial Hyperloop line,
whose costs may be high and whose operating fees
are still uncertain.
What is Elon Musks’s
Hyperloop strategy?
He communicates and acts as a “prophet”. If one
of his projects is crowned with success, Elon Musk
will leave his mark on history. As he has already
become immensely successful, he would like to leave
the Hyperloop project to others.
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FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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WHICH CHALLENGES ARE INTEGRAL
TO KEEPING THE HYPERLOOP PROMISE?
Hyperloop
A futuristic mode of transport… has just turned a hundred!
Though incompatible with existing infrastructures,
Hyperloop promises very high speeds,
though many obstacles still remain.
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Speed:
the
Hyperloop
Promise
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0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400
Magnetic Levitation in a Vacuum
(Hyperlooop)
Air Travel
Magnetic Levitation
in the Atmosphere
High-Speed Train - Established Technology
Implied Increase in Running Costs
High-Speed Commercial Train
Currently in Service
€
km/h
FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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Up to 1,100 km/h
To fully exploit its potential, Hyperloop must
connect town centres.
Decarbonised Transport in Operation
Using genuinely green electricity.
Interoperability
To date, the players on the market are not
working on common technology.
Infrastructure Costs
Hypothetical,
Partly depends on regional topography.
Safety
Objectives are not unattainable
But could prove costly.
Uncertain Context
Future health crises,
international tensions.
FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
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THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA
CONCEPT
A detonator triggered by Elon Musk
H Y P E R L O O P
THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
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ELON MUSK FOSTERS INNOVATION
August 2013
Elon Musk, supported by his Tesla and SpaceX teams, brings
out a “concept paper” *
of 57 pages.
It describes a transport system combining a tube placed
under low pressure, motorisation using a linear motor
and levitation with an air cushion, which could potentially
be replaced by magnetic levitation.
This description is reasonably detailed, yet completely elliptic
when it comes to certain points. However, it announces very
precise establishment costs. Elon Musk compared Hyperloop
to Linux and has presented it in an “open source” manner
to the scientific community, so that anyone may contribute
to its development.
*
The original 2013 paper is available online:
https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/blog_images/hyperloop-alpha.pdf
All the projects triggered by the original document are quite
different to its initial description, yet they all use the name
created by Elon Musk: Hyperloop.
The is no Hyperloop project funded or managed directly
by Elon Musk, but not one Hyperloop creator, whatever their
advancement, is as well-known as Musk. Though he is
content to foster emulation between the entrepreneurs
engaged in this adventure, his name will forever
be associated with Hyperloop.
As described in the 2013 document, the system is called
Hyperloop Alpha. Elon Musk considered it as a faster cost-
effective alternative to a high-speed trainline, that could be
set up between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
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CREATING A VACUUM IS TOO COSTLY
Air pressure analogue
to that found at an altitude
of 45,000 metres
A complete vacuum is difficult
to create and maintain
in a tube several kilometres
long, so Hyperloop Alpha
has opted for very low
pressure instead. Reduced
to 100 pascals, pressure
in the tubes is a thousand
times lower than the average
atmospheric pressure
at sea level. This reduces
the aerodynamic drag
by just as much.
Exploiting residual air
As air must be maintained
in the tube, Hyperloop Alpha
exploits this fact and eliminates
friction thanks to an air
cushion. It is created
by on-board compressed air,
as soon as the vehicle has
reached sufficient speed, but
also through the evacuation,
under the vehicle, of air moved
by a frontal compressor.
Costlier alternatives
Magnetic levitation is an
alternative to the air cushion
mentioned in association
with Hyperloop Alpha,
but would have a strong
impact on cost.
THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
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PARALLEL TUBES, ONE PER DIRECTION,
PLACED ON PYLONS 30 METERS APART,
ARE COVERED IN PHOTOVOLTAIC PANELS.
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THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
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Hyperloop Alpha goes beyond the Kantrowitz Limit
When a vehicle moves quickly though a tube, the presence of air, even under low pressure, means that a space must be
preserved between the said vehicle and the edges of the tube, according to a ratio defined by the Kantrowitz Limit.
To break this speed limit, Hyperloop Alpha has equipped its capsule with a compressor at the front of the vehicle.
Blowing air out behind the capsule by making this air pass under it, the compressor works using an on-board battery.
When doubled, it ensures 45 minutes of functioning and is replaced during stops in stations.
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THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
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HYPERLOOP ALPHA HAS BEEN CREATED FOR DISTANCES OF UP TO 1,500 KM
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THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
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500 1000 1500 2000 2500
480
890
1120
Speed (km/h)
Journey Time
(seconds)
Los Angeles San Francisco
CAUGHT BETWEEN PERFORMANCE
AND COST REDUCTION
Mach 0.91
Hyperloop Alpha predicts
a maximum speed
of 1,120 km/h – a speed
situated in the higher
subsonic range.
28 passengers
per capsule
Each Hyperloop Alpha
capsule has a width
of 1.35 m with a frontal
surface area of 1.4 m2
.
Capsules adapted
to the transport of cars
would raise establishment
costs by 25%.
1 g of longitudinal
acceleration
Placed every 100 km,
the linear motors
of the Hyperloop Alpha
are only installed on 1%
of the total length
of tubes. They guarantee
vehicle acceleration
and deceleration.
A departure
every 2 minutes
With 30 departures an hour
of 28-seater capsules, this
system could accommodate
840 passengers per hour
and per direction.
THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
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By withstanding a lateral acceleration of 0.5 g, Hyperloop Alpha has determined a minimal radius for its curves – according to the speed
considered – of 3.67 km at 480 km/h, 12.6 km at 890 km/h and 23.5 km at 1,120 km/h.
ACCELERATION IS PART OF THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA EXPERIENCE
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THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
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HYPERLOOP ALPHA LEAVES QUESTIONS HANGINIG
Managing capsule gyroscopic movement
Aligning the rotor of the linear motor
with the corresponding stator
of the infrastructure when they come
together, at intervals of 100 km
Conception of stations and buffers between
partial vacuum zones and the open air
Conception of signalling
Maintenance of infrastructure
and capsules
Assistance in the event of a capsule
immobilised inside a tube, with fire or smoke
emanating from the on-board battery
Evaluation of magnetic levitation –
costs and demand
Realisation of small-scale prototypes
for the evaluation of physical issues
Genuine interest in the system compared
to existing rail and plane offers, if the stations
are located outside of urban centres and must
be accessed on the periphery, like airports.
THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
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ELON MUSK ESTABLISHED THE NAME HYPERLOOP.
IT HAS BEEN ADOPTED BY A FAMILY OF PROJECTS
INCLUDING THOSE IN THE ACADEMIC WORLD.
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THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
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REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
Start-ups or academia:
everyone is rolling up their sleeves
H Y P E R L O O P
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WHO SHALL CREATE THE FIRST HYPERLOOP ?
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REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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SIX COMPANIES ARE LEADING THE WAY
Three out of six are European
Among the six companies developing the main
Hyperloop projects, three are European: Hardt
Hyperloop (Netherlands), Nevomo (Poland)
and Zeleros (Spain).
Two have entities located in France
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT)
has an R&D centre and test strip of 330 m near
Toulouse. Transpod has its offices in Limoges
and has built a test strip of 3 km to the scale
of 1:2 in the surrounding area.
450 M€
Since 2013, Hyperloop projects have received
450 million euros in funding. The majority
comes from the private sector.
To date, the most relevant players seem
to be Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO), Transpod,
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT)
and Hardt. These four firms have benefitted
from the largest sums.
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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HYPERLOOP INVESTMENT AND ACHIEVEMENTS
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
Headquarters
and Offices
Commercial
Discussions
Funding
(Euros)
Test Strip Staff
290 340M
46M
30M
15M
7M
5M
20
26
23
33
Las Vegas: 500m, 1:1 scale
Netherlands
Spain
Poland, Berlin
Spain
Poland
USA, UK,
Canada, Ireland, Mexico
50 employees
500 contributors
& consultants
USA, UAE, Spain, France, Brazil,
China, South Korea, India, Indonesia,
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine
Europe, South Korea,
UAE, Japan, Turkey
Toulouse: 330m
Abu Dhabi: 5km
(planned in 2021)
Grönignen Province: 3km
(planned for 2022)
Spain: 2-3km
(planned for 2021 or 2022,
incomplete as of April 2021)
48m, 1:5 scale
Life-size model expected mid-2021
Canada, France,
Saudi Arabia, USA, Australia
USA (California),
Dubai, London
USA (California),
Barcelona, Dubai,
São Paulo, Toulouse
Canada,
Limoges, Paris
Limoges: 3km, 1:2 scale
Beginning of the construction: 2020/2021
Edmonton: 1:1 scale
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Expected Concentration
In the long term, a consolidation
of the sector is probable around
one or two major players.
The search for interoperability
shall contribute
to this concentration.
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REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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TECHNOLOGIES OF THE MAIN HYPERLOOP PROJECTS
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
Propulsion Power and Supply
Electromagnetic Linear Motor
Electromagnetic Linear Motor
Electricity
Infrastructure
Low Pressure Tube (100Pa)
Network junctions work
as access and exit ramps
towards road network
Electromagnetic Suspension
Upper rail
No wheels at low speed
6/9
Electromagnetic Linear Motor
Low Pressure Tube (100Pa)
Diameter: 13ft (about 4m)
Height of Pylon: 20ft (about 6m)
Conductible Line
Passive Magnetic Levitation
for high speed
Wheels for low speed
6/9
Electromagnetic Linear Motor
Low Pressure Tube (100Pa)
Conductible Steel
5/9
6/9
Electromagnetic Linear Motor
Magnetic Levitation
on existing high-speed rail: Magrail
Lower rail
Magnetic Levitation
on existing high-speed rail: Magrail
Lower rail
3/9
Compressed Air Propulsion
Tube diameter: 4m
Pressure > 100Pa
(according to Zeleros)
Passive Levitation Technology
Lower rail
3/9
Levitation
High speed/Low speed
Technology Readiness
Level (TRL)
Electromagnetic Levitation
Lower rail at low speed
Electromagnetic Suspension (Attraction)
Top and bottom rail
Electricity
Speed plasma arc for high speed
and rail (using a shoe) for low speed
Electricity
Energy recuperated when breaking
Electricity
Energy recuperated when breaking
Electricity.
Battery fueled propulsion
Electricity
48
UNIVERSITES AND START-UPS ARE PART OF THE HYPERLOOP DYNAMIC
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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VIRGIN HYPERLOOP
(EX-HYPERLOOP ONE)
Hyperloop
Turning Hyperloop into a Reality
Virgin Hyperloop is currently pushing the most advanced proposal
when it comes to developing Hyperloop.
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50
VIRGIN HYPERLOOP IS THE FIRST TO WELCOME PASSENGERS ON BOARD
Tests on a real-life scale
Virgin Hyperloop has built a test strip to a real-life scale,
to test and validate its subsystems - propulsion,
levitation, electronic supply and brakes.
First passengers
To date, the Virgin demonstrator is the only one which
has carried people (members of the team). This maiden
voyage took place on October 8th 2020, covering 500 m
and reaching 172 km/h. There is still a lot of work to do
for this model to be ready for the commercial
establishment of a viable line with a speed of over
1,000 km/h.
The capacity to attract funding
Out of the 443 M€ raised by the sector, Virgin
Hyperloop has garnered 340 M€, or more than three
quarters of total investments in Hyperloop projects.
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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THESE PASSENGERS ARE THE FIRST TO EVER TRAVEL BY HYPERLOOP
51
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
52
Virgin Hyperloop plans the construction of a new experimental strip of 11 km. Their commercial objective seems
to make passengers a priority, but the potential of freight is not to be neglected. The economic model could consist
in sales of licences or a direct commercialisation of the service to end users.
PASSENGERS FIRST, THEN FREIGHT, FOR VIRGIN HYPERLOOP
52
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
53
53
TRANSPOD
Hyperloop
Turning Hyperloop into a Reality
This Canadian company plans to build
a prototype near Limoges, then another in Canada.
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54
Technical Features
Transpod
This mode of energy transmission is made
up of a brake shoe operating at lower speeds
and a plasma arc to reach higher ones.
The vehicle is equipped with a wheel/electric
motor combination for acceleration and
deceleration phases, and use linear engines
for cruising.
54
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
55
55
EACH TRANSPOD CAPSULE COULD CONTAIN UP TO
100 PASSENGERS OR 10 TO 15 TONS OF FREIGHT.
55
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
56
56
Transpod estimates
line construction costs
at 27 M€/km
56
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
57
57
An economic model in two stages
In the short term, Transpod would like to licence its technology, sell its vehicles and be a minority shareholder of future
corridors using TransPod technology.
In the long term, Transpod could also handle upkeep and maintenance for the entire system.
57
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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HYPERLOOP TT
Hyperloop
Turning Hyperloop into a Reality
This American company has set up its R&D centre in Toulouse.
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59
A tube
on a real-life scale is
ready for action
Hyperloop Transportation
Technologies (HTT) have
undertaken tests with capsules
on a reduced scale and are now
focusing on systems to manage
pressure inside the tube.
The capsules could welcome
between 28 and 50 people
and the system should be
capable of transporting
160,000 passengers per day.
59
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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60
AFTER TOULOUSE, A LAUNCH STRIP IS PLANNED IN ABU DHABI
Inductrack Patent
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT)
have opted for passive electromagnetic levitation.
This is derived from the Inductrak patent developed
in the 1990s.
Commercialisation of licences
Their economic model is based on an offer of licences
destined for transport operators, and the construction
of running equipment.
Test Strip
A 5 km launch strip is planned in Abu Dhabi
for a budget of 138 M€.
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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Brazil, China, South Korea,
the UAE, France, India,
Indonesia, Slovakia, the
Czech Republic, the
Ukraine, the USA…
Hyperloop TT already
plans to install lines
in over 10 countries
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REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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HARDT HYPERLOOP
Hyperloop
Turning Hyperloop into a Reality
The Dutch start-up Hardt Hyperloop was originally a student project.
63
Hardt Hyperloop accelerated its development by raising 15 million Euros in private and public funds. The company is leading a working
group on European standards dedicated to Hyperloop, and they aim to build a European centre for Hyperloop trials in the Netherlands.
Low-speed tests have been performed regarding levitation, propulsion, switching lines and the creation of a vacuum.
THE HARDT HYPERLOOP FOUNDERS
WON A COMPETITION ORGANISED BY SPACE X IN 2017
63
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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FREIGHT FIRST FOR HARDT
To begin with, Hardt Hyperloop plans to transport freight.
An initial route, dubbed the “Route of flowers” could link
Amsterdam to Rotterdam. Capsules are to move within tubes
with a diameter of 1.10 m, at a cruise speed of 150 km/h,
and a capacity of 1.125 t. With a frequency of 15 capsules
per minute and direction, transport capacity could reach
1012.5 t/h - the payload of 40 tractor-trailers.
Passenger transport could be considered at a later date.
The capacity of a capsule would be of 60 persons, at an
average speed of 700 km/h. The system could therefore
transport up to 20,000 passengers per hour per direction.
Hardt Hyperloop announced that their vehicle should
consume 38 Wh per passenger and per kilometre, at
700 km/h and at 60 % of its load. The construction costs of
their solution are estimated at 30 M€/km, including vehicles.
The Hardt economic model is based on an offer that includes
the technology licences and system maintenance services.
It is aimed at transport operators.
Hardt Hyperloop has launched a feasibility study
in partnership with Amsterdam-Schiphol airport.
This consists in implanting a Hyperloop system in the airport
so as to reenforce its position as a European air hub.
The result is a project for a network of 2 200 km in length
with 18 stations spread out over five different countries
(Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK).
This Hyperloop would therefore replace current offers
in the field of short-haul flights and transport 12 passengers
by 2050. Hardt Hyperloop estimates that its system
will reach its operational stage in 2028.
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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The Hardt system
includes permanent
magnets which
prevent the use
of low-speed rail.
Its infrastructure
allows for the
switching of lines.
65
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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ZELEROS
Hyperloop
Turning Hyperloop into a Reality
In 2016, this Spanish start-up took part in a Hyperloop competition organised
by Space X and was awarded the “Top Design Concept” and “Propulsion /
Compression Subsystem Technical Excellence” prizes. That same year, Altran
began to invest in its capital.
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67
Zeleros are not trying to reach
complete vacuum
At around 50 hPa, the pressure
in the Zeleros is above that announced
by the competition.
It is analogue to that of an airplane flying
at an altitude of 20,000 metres.
This approach, pioneered by SwissMetro,
benefits from lower maintenance
and running costs.
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REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
68
68
Inside the Zeleros tube,
a lower rail guides
the vehicle and can
make it roll to one side
in the event
of an emergency.
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REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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THE ZELEROS CAPSULE IS PROPULSED BY A LINEAR MOTOR
FOR ACCELERATION AND BY A TURBINE AT CRUISE SPEED.
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REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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70
While Hyperloop Alpha directs air flow
beneath the capsule to keep the engine running,
Zeleros passes it over the top of the capsule.
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REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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ZELEROS FOCUSES ON FREIGHT
The Zeleros team have performed tests and are now working on:
Sub-system optimization
Propulsion and levitation development
Vehicle conception
Patent filing
After the construction of a prototype to the scale of 1:3, Zeleros
is considering an initial line of freight for 2023, a date which
does not seem entirely realistic.
According to Zeleros, the CAPEX investment of their solution would
come to 20 M€/km and their vehicle would carry about fifty
passengers.
The economic model rests on the sale of their technologies taking
the form of licenses to future transport operators.
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REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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NEVOMO
(EX-HYPER POLAND)
Hyperloop
Turning Hyperloop into a Reality
This new Polish company is using an evolution of the traditional rail system
to create a Hyperloop in three stages.
73
TWO INTERMEDIARY STAGES
IN BUILDING A HYPERLOOP WITH NEVOMO (EX-HYPER POLAND)
The Magrail hybrid
Electromagnetic shuttles and
classic trains share the same track.
Magrail is aiming for 415 km/h
on high-speed lines. Rail signalling
has yet to be validated.
Hyperrail
Evolution of the Magrail.
the vehicle is now placed inside
a low-pressure tube
located above train lines
and reaching 1,000 km/h.
Hyperloop
This stage requires technologies
dedicated to the construction
of new infrastructures.
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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A miniature Magrail is already
up and running
Nevomo has performed tests
on a Magrail to the scale of 1:5
on a 48-metre strip.
Many of its features have been tested
with success - passive levitation, linear
pull, data communication, acquisition
elements and general mechanics.
Nevomo estimates that a life-size
prototype of the Magrail could be
developed by 2021. The certification
of the system may be granted between
2022 and 2023. No roadmap has yet
been arranged for the following stages
(Hyperrail, Hyperloop).
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REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
75
The economic model considered is founded on licences sold to rail constructors.
In the long term, Nevomo would like to be acquired by a company with worldwide experience in the rail sector.
NEVOMO : REPURCHASING AS AN OBJECTIVE
75
REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
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76
RISING TO CHALLENGES
A question of means
H Y P E R L O O P
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77
Hyperloop
Rising to Challenges
The health crisis has led to an unprecedented decrease in passenger transport.
78
FIGURES FOR TRANSPORT IN 2020 COMPARED TO 2019
-42%
Major French rail travel
(TGV, Intercity lines).
Source : SNCF
-66%
Passengers using airlines
on a worldwide scale.
-75.6%
Passengers using airlines
for international travel,
on a worldwide scale.
-48.8%
Passengers using airlines
on domestic flights,
on a worldwide scale.
-92.8%
Air traffic at the height of the crisis
on April 12th, 2020.
485 B$
Losses for the air travel sector.
370 B$ for airlines,
115 B$ for airports.
Source : IATA
RISING TO CHALLENGES
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79
THE EXISTENCE OF DEMAND, AS WELL AS ITS DURABILITY,
MUST BE ENSURED IN ORDER TO MOTIVATE PRIVATE INVESTORS
79
RISING TO CHALLENGES
80
80
TOPOGRAPHY LEADS TO EXTRA COSTS
FOR ULTRA-HIGH-SPEED TRAVEL
Hyperloop
Rising to Challenges
The price of property in urban centers, as well as engineering necessary
to overcome natural obstacles, have a strong influence on operating costs.
81
81
REACHING THE HEART OF THE CITY
SIGNIFICANTLY RAISES COSTS
81
RISING TO CHALLENGES
82
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82
Bringing Hyperloop to
the very heart of a city
comes at a price. If this
cannot be ensured, the
positions of airports or
high-speed lines circling
cities may be possible
locations for Hyperloop
stations
RISING TO CHALLENGES
Route to
Hyperloop
station
Acceleration Maximum speed
The time spent at maximum
speed is inferior to half of
total transport time
Deceleration
Route from
Hyperloop
station
Entering urban centres
Erasing differences in topography
Hyperloop
Departure
station
Hyperloop
Arrival
station
Upon departure and arrival, one
must take into account:
- Either travel time between
the town centre and the Hyperloop
station located outside of the city,
- Or the cost of creating
an underground hub (real estate,
public works engineering).
Very high speed (± 1,000 km/h)
does not allow vehicles to follow
the curves of the land. It therefore
requires the setting up
of complicated and costly
engineering schemes
(tunnels, viaducts).
High speed trains access the town centre
using existing infrastructure
at surface level, networks which
are shared and non-specific.
Hyperloop can access a city using
an underground line but at an important
cost - amortisement may not be offset
by its utilisation for Mass Transit
on a regional level.
LGV
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83
RAISING SPEEDS IMPLIES RAISING CURVE RADIUS
83
RISING TO CHALLENGES
In effect, transversal acceleration is equal to linear speed squared, divided by curve radius (or angular speed squared,
multiplied by curve radius), so raising speed therefore implies an adaptation of the curves these lines follow.
These limitations are added to those presented by the topography of the land to be covered, which can call for specific civil
engineering schemes (tunnels, viaducts) to overcome obstacles occurring along the way.
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84
THE FASTER THE
SPEED,
THE LESS AN
INCREASE OF 100 KM/H
AFFECTS TOTAL TRANSIT
TIME
84
When circulating at 100 km/h, an acceleration
of 100 km/h divides journey time in half.
However, gaining 100 km/h when already running
at 1,000 km/h only saves marginal time. This is why
a speed of 300, or even 350 km/h, is the compromise
to reach between cost and transit time for ultra
high-speed rail travel within Europe.
RISING TO CHALLENGES
85
85
CRUCIAL TECHNICAL
MASTERY
Hyperloop
Rising to Challenges
From managing a “partial vacuum”, to interoperability founded
on shared standards and signalling conception, there are still
many technical challenges to overcome.
86
BREAKING THROUGH THE
KANTROWITZ LIMIT
As a capsule approaches, air present in the tube flows out from its central
section towards the back of the vehicle, thus passing through a limited
space situated between the capsule edges and the internal wall of the
tube. This phenomenon leads to an acceleration of flow speed, according
to principle, derived from fluid mechanics, of sustained flow rate. Because
of the very high speed of the capsule, the speed at which the flow passes
through the tube can, at times, come close to the speed of sound,
creating local shockwaves between the walls of the tube and the vehicle.
This in turn leads to the localised saturation of flow which limits its
speed, causing an accumulation of air in front of the capsule, an
accumulation which can limit maximum speed. Two solutions could solve
this issue:
Raising the diameter of the tube to increase the amount of space
for the air as it passes around the vehicle. This would push back the critical
speed at which the flow saturates. The drawback of this solution is that it
raises infrastructure costs.
Installing a compressor in front of the capsule in order to push air
towards the back. This solution has been considered by certain
Hyperloop players.
RISING TO CHALLENGES
87
87
GAUGING PRESSURE
Bringing a flight of fancy back to reality
The Hyperloop concept is founded on the circulation
of capsules in tubes where air pressure has been lowered
to reduce friction. This is theoretically conducive
to transport at very high speeds with reduced energy
consumption. Though seductive, to be applied, the idea
needs to rise to several technical challenges:
• Ensuring that the tubes stay watertight over time,
yet also allowing the evacuation of heat (pod HVAC,
energy generated by the brakes, friction between
the capsule and wall, etc.).
• Permitting frequent pressurisation
and depressurisation necessary for system
maintenance as well in the event
of passenger evacuation.
• Conserving a certain amount of air pressure
so as to cool hauling equipment and guarantee
the renewal of conditioned air for passenger comfort. These vacuum pumps come from the Hyperloop TT test facility set up in
Toulouse. One of the main expenditures of the Hyperloop system involves
keeping them in operation.
RISING TO CHALLENGES
88
To date, only Hardt Hyperloop has put together and patented a line switch system. This system has only been tested at low speeds
and on a small scale. Yet the maneuvering speed of signaling systems is a factor which could limit the output of lines. The Hyperloop
players promise the departure of a capsule every 30 seconds if the system is running at full capacity. With such a frequency,
how to guarantee consistent verification, commands, locking mechanisms and signaling network safety?
HOW TO MANŒUVRE SIGNALLING
ADAPTED TO THE CIRCULATION OF CAPSULES ?
88
RISING TO CHALLENGES
89
89
Essential and regular geometric controls to assess seismic risk
Maintaining the alignment necessary for high speed, as well as airtight tubes, means
that Hyperloop structures raised off the ground must possess seismic isolation in accordance
with local risk. This could lead to significant construction costs. Following seismic activity,
it is essential to verify the geometry of installations in order to ensure that no permanent
movement of their foundations is damaging the system. In the event of underground
Hyperloops, distortions could appear after a seismic shift. Periodic geometric assessments
are therefore necessary.
89
RISING TO CHALLENGES
90
Hyperloop is an automated, ultra high-speed mode of transport. It calls for systems of detection and communication which are robust yet
also extremely fast, within a highly limited environment (underground, ultra-fast, vacuum, within a tube, etc.). In the event of transport
structured by short intervals between capsules launched at very high speeds, it is crucial to be able to detect incidents far in advance
of the position of a capsule, but also to act with a reaction time which is incompatible with direct human monitoring.
IS THERE A PILOT IN THE POD ?
90
RISING TO CHALLENGES
91
CONTROLLING EMERGENCY BREAKING
Imagine a hyperloop launched at 700 km/h, with an interval
of 11 s between each capsule, aiming to carry 20 000 people
per hour and per direction using 60-seater capsules. In this
case, the distance between two capsules is of 2,100 m.
If we admit that emergency brakeage is limited to 1 g,
brakeage distance at 700 km/h would be of around 1,900 m.
In the event of a human triggering a brake system, it would
be necessary to add the distance covered during
this person’s reaction time (1 s), or about 200 m.
The stoppage distance in this case would therefore be
of 2,100 m. Admitting these hypotheses :
For a human to activate emergency brakes, they would
have to be informed of an incident situated at least 2,100 m
in front of the capsule.
Each second lost before reacting prolongs the distance
by 200 m.
With the departure frequency retained here, and two capsules
separated by 2 100 m, the next capsule has between 1 and 11 s
to “react” to an incident involving the front capsule:
› If the front capsule experiences an incident that stops
it immediately (collision with a fixed obstacle, with
a signaling strip, etc.), the following capsule will have
exactly enough time to stop as long as the brakeage
is triggered in the second following the occurrence
of the event. This case is not highly likely
as the environment is sealed off and the main
foreseeable obstacles are spare parts from the vehicles
or infrastructure.
› If the front capsule encounters a situation calling
for emergency brakeage at 1 g, the following capsule will
have 4.2 km in order to stop (2.1 km of inter-distance
and 2.1 km of front capsule stoppage distance). In this
case, the brakeage of the second capsule must be
triggered in the 10 s following that of the first capsule.
RISING TO CHALLENGES
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92
HEALTH RISKS YET TO BE EVALUATED
Before the actual establishment of electromagnetic
levitation or propulsion systems, it is necessary not only
to study their electromagnetic compatibility with other
electronic devices placed nearby (ElectroMagnetic
Compatibility), but also the possible health risks caused
by exposure of humans to magnetic fields
(ElectroMagnetic Exposure).
These humans could be passengers on board
the trains or near their lines, but also local dwellers
and the personnel of companies manning or performing
maintenance on these transport systems.
RISING TO CHALLENGES
93
93
Is system interoperability
a genuine possibility?
The many specificities of each Hyperloop
system do not make them conducive
to interoperability between rival Hyperloops
or with other guided transport systems.
Only the European Hyperloops touch upon
a necessary interoperability. Interoperability
would therefore require common technical
specification and standardisation - a major
issue for Hyperloop companies.
93
RISING TO CHALLENGES
94
When it comes to standardisation, the JTC 20 Committee (Joint Technical Committee) was created in February 2020. It is piloted
by the European Committee for standardisation (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). This initiative
has been led by several European and Canadian Hyperloop players. Among them, we find Hardt Hyperloop, Nevomo (Hyper Poland),
Transpod and Zeleros.
The objective of this committee is to create standards and common specifications, interoperable systems but also shared objectives
of safety for Hyperloop systems. One of its aims is the reduction of cost and time necessary for its development and operation.
It is probable that the company that will become the most advanced in Hyperloop development will be able to impose its techniques
and procedures as standard for the other players.
EUROPEANS ARE ATTEMPTING TO STANDARDISE HYPERLOOP
94
RISING TO CHALLENGES
95
95
SAFETY DETERMINES REGULATIONS
Hyperloop
Rising to Challenges
European regulation already exists on the subject of rail safety, including
tunnels. The manning of a commercial Hyperloop line must be accompanied
by regulations which are just as strict.
96
SEATBELTS IN THE EVENT OF AN
EMERGENCY
Normal Conditions
The acceleration and
deceleration of capsules
under normal conditions
should be comparable to
those practiced by a high-
speed train when it comes
to user acceptability, even
by the most vulnerable. This
limits g-force to 0.1 or
maybe 0.2 g during
deceleration. Under these
conditions, no form of
restraint is necessary.
An automobile seatbelt is
blocked at 0.3 g.
Emergency brakeage
The optimal running of a
Hyperloop is founded on
reduced intervals between
capsules running at top
speed. Most Hyperloop
projects mention the
possibility of emergency
brake systems with
deceleration to the tune of
1 g. This calls for a “three
point” seatbelt with a locking
system, or even passive force
limiters and an active
tensioning device
(pretensioner) in the event of
a collision, notably at
signalling points and
switches.
Two to three times quicker than the highest of high-speed trains,
Hyperloop raises issues regarding passenger protection needs when
it comes to capsule movements.
RISING TO CHALLENGES
97
With Hyperloop, it is necessary to study the risks of turbulence inside the tube, notably turbulences of flow triggered
by the capsule preceding it. They could justify restraining passengers using seat-belts. The possibility of lateral movements
or rolls during the levitation or suspension of capsules must be considered, and likewise, during transitions between transport
using wheels and levitation or suspension.
THE HYPERLOOP INDUCES ZONES OF TURBULENCES FROM THE GROUND
UPWARDS
97
RISING TO CHALLENGES
98
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LEAVE THE
CAPSULE WITHOUT EXTREME RISKS
In case of passenger evacuation, emergency exits shall be designed
along the lines. Safety vehicles shall also be available to carry
passengers as well as to haul broken down capsules. The setting up
of these structures could call for a “service” tube comparable
to that of Channel Tunnel.
RISING TO CHALLENGES
99
TOWARDS REGULATION ADAPTED TO UNIQUE HYPERLOOP FEATURES
The stages of certification and approval are crucial when
it comes to the setting up of any commercial means
of transport. The Hyperloop is a new mode of transport
at the crossroads between high-speed rail and air travel -
legislative bodies will simultaneously have to adapt existing
regulations and create new texts adapted to specific
Hyperloop features.
On a European level, the creation of a relevant legal
framework could take five to ten years. European
and American regulatory bodies are already hard at work.
The European Commission predicts it will launch schemes
to achieve this in 2021.
Research shall be led by teams of experts along with
the companies developing Hyperloop. As for the USA, in July
2020, they declared themselves in favour of the creation
of legislation concerning the Hyperloop. The Non-Traditional
and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council has
taken on the mission of publishing regulatory guidelines
for Hyperloop over the next six months.
These advances illustrate the increase of interest shown
by these two markets for Hyperloop.
RISING TO CHALLENGES
100
100
ECONOMIC AND ENERGETIC
RELEVANCE
Hyperloop
Rising to Challenges
High final cost and energy consumption.
101
101
Hardt Hyperloop has created data comparing
the Hyperloop, high speed trains and air travel between
Paris and Amsterdam. The table on the left presents total
transit time for a journey from Paris (Gare du Nord)
to Amsterdam (Central Station) including waiting time,
check-in and safety checks.
Hardt Hyperloop have announced a travel time of 1h30,
door-to door. This rises to 2h40 if we add 0h40
for journeys on public transport towards outlying stations
such as airports, and 0h30 for the handling of passengers
in stations.
According to this estimate and on this journey, Hyperloop
would be faster than a plane and a high-speed train.
SAVING TIME
WITH HYPERLOOP
RISING TO CHALLENGES
102
102
CAN PRICING SYSTEMS
VALUE TIME SAVED?
Few pricing elements have been communicated to date
by companies in the Hyperloop sector. Hardt Hyperloop
has quoted 71€ for a one-way Amsterdam-Berlin ticket.
As Paris-Amsterdam is comparable in distance, the same rate
may be applied.
The Hardt Hyperloop price for Paris-Amsterdam is close
to that of the Thalys and costs markedly less than air travel.
It therefore does not seem to account for the time saved
by the Hyperloop.
By integrating this valuation, Thalys clients could be willing
to pay 105€ for a Hyperloop ticket, and air travellers, 484€.
According to this analysis, the price of a ticket sold
to Hyperloop clients could therefore be markedly superior
to the price announced to date by Hardt Hyperloop.
RISING TO CHALLENGES
Compared
to Thalys
Compared
to Air Travel
Ticket Cost (€)
3h55
3h55
Air Travel
3h40
3h40
HST (Thalys)
2h40
2h40
Hyperloop
100
200
300
400
500
204 €
65 €
105 €
484 €
Source: Leonard (for cost estimates) / General Commission for Strategy and Perspective (for estimate value of time saved)
103
RELEVANCE OF INVESTMENT
IN THE SUGGESTED MOBILITY OFFER
The adjacent table shows the relation between the
throughput offered by a mode of transportation and the
investments it requires.
According to the estimates of Hardt Hyperloop,
1,700 people could use the Paris-Amsterdam line in 2050.
This is distinctively lower than rates for air travel and Thalys,
outside of exceptional circumstances.
Hardt Hyperloop estimates its Capex at 30 M€/km, which is
higher than that of the Thalys train (22 M€/km outside
of urban areas) and air travel (1.2 M€/kilometre).
RISING TO CHALLENGES
.
5
1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 10000
10
15
20
25
30
Capex/km (M€)
Hyperloop
(Hardt estimate)
Debit/Day (Pax)
Air Travel
* Dœs not include airport platforms
*
High-Speed Train
104
104
Based on Hardt Hyperloop and Transpod data, this table compares energy
consumption per passenger and per kilometre, but this data does not seem
realistic. The Hyperloop could in fact consume more energy than the Thalys
(x 7,2) and air travail (x 1,34).
Founded on Transpod characteristics, this estimate considers consumption
over 400 km, with 26 000 passengers carried at a frequency of 85 capsules
per hour, namely 36 passengers per capsule and 17 h of service.
Placing a tube with a diameter of 4 meters in a complete vacuum with a
length of 1 000 meters for 1 hour calls for 3 MW. If it only operates 2 h/day,
we obtain a consumption of 230 Wh/pax.km. For propulsion, the power
necessary for a capsule is given at 3 MW. By considering a journey of 1h30
for 400 km, consumption reaches 313 Wh/pax.km.
Transpod and Hardt underestimate the energetic needs of the
infrastructure. The running costs (OPEX) of the Hyperloop will be highly
sensitive to evolutions in energy costs.
104
VACCUM WEIGHS HEAVILY
ON ENERGY CONSUMPTION
RISING TO CHALLENGES
100
200
300
400
500
600
Hardt Transpod
Air Travel
Hyperloop
Our estimate
Thalys
Movement (Necessary energy for the transport of a pod)
Vaccum (Necessary energy for the creation of a vacuum and its maintenance)
375
313 313
193
36
43
0,3
70
Wh/pax.km 
Source: Leonard - Based upon technical specifications provided
by different Hyperloop projects
105
CARBON FOOTRPRINT DEPENDS
ON THE MEANS OF ELECTRICITY
PRODUCTION
The Hyperloop carbon footprint is favourable compared to air
travel but this point needs to be put into perspective.
Currently, the French energetic mix with its massively
decarbonised energy encourages the Hyperloop.
As for the air travel sector, its global carbon footprint could
change to its advantage if biokerosene or dihydrogen use
become stansdardised.
This footprint is not complete as the emissions associated
with the construction of infrastructures have not been taken
into account. They are difficult to assess at this stage.
25
100 200 300 400 500 600
50
75
100
125
gCO2/km.pax
Transpod
Air Travel
High-Speed Train
Hyperloop
(VINCI estimate)
WH/pax.km
RISING TO CHALLENGES
106
SPEED ON A EUROPEAN SCALE COMES
WITH HEAVY INITIAL INVESTMENT
By basing ourselves on data communicated by companies involved
in Hyperloop schemes:
Hyperloop should be faster door-to-door than high-speed
transport available today.
Hyperloop has very important needs in terms of investment
(Capex) yet the number of passengers it can carry is inferior to that
of its competitors.
Current estimates of the sector players regarding tariffication
do not take into account the added value of time saved.
Energy consumption and carbon footprint of the Hyperloop
has yet to be quantified, to evaluate the relevance of this mode
of transport compared to classic high-speed trains and air travel
covering similar routes.
RISING TO CHALLENGES
107
107
HYPERLOOP
FOR FREIGHT?
Hyperloop
Rising to Challenges
The flow of express freight is a means of utilising the infrastructure at times
where there is lower passenger demand.
108
108
108
RISING TO CHALLENGES
MAIN AIR CARGO FLOWS
109
109
An alternative to air freight?
For express or messenger freight, Hyperloop
could complete or replace air travel as long
as grouping organisations are undertaken
upstream, and output flow is redistributed
downstream.
What about cars?
Conjured up by Elon Musk for Hyperloop
Alpha, car transport by Hyperloop
has not been integrated to any
of the current projects.
109
RISING TO CHALLENGES
110
110
A FUTURE FOR
HYPERLOOP?
Does it have what it takes to become a reality?
H Y P E R L O O P
111
111
HYPOTHETICAL TECHNICAL READINESS AND PROFITABILITY
Still in the R&D phase
The Hyperloop is a concept with a technology readiness
level of 6 out of 9, at best. The main players offer
different solutions yet many technical hurdles still
remain to be overcome.
Holding out without public funds?
The economic viability of a model exclusively founded
on private investment has not been proven at this stage.
Public economic support, similar to those rail or air
travel benefit from, seems necessary to give a chance
to the Hyperloop industry. At this stage, energetic
and environmental viability have not been proven either.
A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP?
112
112
Operation and
maintenance
At the moment, companies are
mainly focusing on technical
development and financing
to support their activities.
“Operations and maintenance”
(O&M) has not yet been touched
upon and scheduling of capsules
in stations (departure every
30 seconds), managing users
and adjustment of the service
to demand have not been defined
yet either.
112
A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP?
113
113
Rounding off the existing offer
Hyperloop could round off the existing offer,
with an inferior capacity and at prices higher
than high speed rail and air travel that we
know today. It would constitute a premium
offer on axes with a strong “business”
potential. Freight transport also holds strong
promise.
113
A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP?
114
WHERE TO BUILD HYPERLOOP ?
Limits and opportunities
The commercial success of Hyperloop depends on :
• Infrastructure constraints
• Level of equipment in high-speed rail at a given location
• Use of existing infrastructure
• Acquisition and usage of public real estate
• Seismic limitations
• Acceptability of territories covered without direct access
• Availability of public and private funding
A potential concentrated on territories without high-speed
trains
The potential of Hyperloop seems promising in territories calling
for frequent intercity connections (especially business interests).
This namely concerns West China, the UAE, the USA and Canada.
In Europe, this mode of transport can only reach its full potential
on a continental level.
A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP?
115
115
Who shall build Hyperloop ?
After a initial competition in the sector,
there only one or two major players shall
remain on this market. This may be
explained by highly capitalistic R&D needs
and the difficulty in achieving
interoperability between several systems,
over time.
Players working on the development
of Hyperloop will also have to face
competition from high-speed rail and air
transport players.
115
A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP?
116
116
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT : OBJECTIVE 2030?
116
A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP?
117
Written Material:
VINCI – Leonard / Agence Les Récréateurs
Layout & Illustration:
Agence Les Récréateurs
Photo Credits:
Carnegie Mellon (p. 43, 94, 98)
CRRC (p. 12, 16)
Deutsche Bahn (p. 9)
L’Illustration (domaine public – p. 7)
Hardt Hyperloop (p. 63, 65, 89, 116)
Hyperloop Pod Competition (p. 16, 95, 117)
Hyperloop TT (p. 2, 4, 42, 59, 60, 61, 76, 79, 82, 84,
88, 111, 113)
Japan National Railway (JNR – p. 8)
Japan Railway (p. 8, 10, 14)
Neuralink (p. 27)
Paypal (p. 27)
Nevomo (p. 73, 74, 75, 93)
Scientific American (p. 16)
Société de l’Aérotrain (p. 17, 18)
SpaceTrain / Groupe Jacques Vaucanson (p. 19)
SpaceX (p. 27, 28, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39)
SwissMetro / EPFL (p. 21, 22, 23, 24, 25)
Tesla (p. 27, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39)
ThyssenKrupp (p. 8)
Transpod (p. 1, 46, 54, 55, 56, 57, 87, 90, 91, 97,
99, 107, 110, 112, 114, 115)
Virgin Hyperloop (p. 50, 51, 52)
Zeleros (p. 5, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71)

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Hyperloop: Challenges Running at Top Speed

  • 2. 2 FOREWORD In 2013, Elon Musk launched the Hyperloop concept, an ultra-high- speed terrestrial means of transportation by tube. Academics and engineers around the world have followed the entrepreneur's lead and started developing their own tube-based transport projects. The flurry of R&D and investment in new ultra-high-speed guided transport systems based on Hyperloop Alpha has led Leonard, VINCI's foresight and innovation platform, to prepare this new Emerging Trends study, which reviews and debates the opportunities and challenges of this next-generation mode of transport. Non-conventional low-speed systems (MGV, shuttles and magnetic levitation metros) or the least accomplished ones (Skyway) have been deliberately excluded from this study. Paris, June 2021
  • 3. 3 TABLE OF CONTENTS – HYPERLOOP I. Futuristic… and already a hundred! II. The Hyperloop Alpha Concept III. Real-Life Hyperloop IV. Rising to Challenges V. A Future for Hyperloop? • Magnetically Yours • With or Without Air • SwissMetro: A Hyperloop in 1992 • Elon Musk • Which Challenges to Keep Its Promise? • Virgin Hyperloop • Transpod • Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) • Hardt Hyperloop • Zeleros • Nevomo • An Unfavourable Context • Topography Leads to Extra Costs • Crucial Technical Mastery • Safety Determines Regulations • Economic and Energetic Relevance • A Hyperloop for Freight 6 15 20 26 29 4 32 42 49 53 58 62 66 72 76 77 81 86 96 101 108 111
  • 4. 4 4 THE TRANSPORT OF THE FUTURE… HAS JUST TURNED A HUNDRED! A system birthed a century ago has been granted a new lease of life H Y P E R L O O P
  • 5. 5 5 WHAT IS HYPERLOOP ? Friction causes objects to slow down. To increase speed, it is therefore preferable to reduce, or even eliminate friction. To achieve this, a vehicle, called a capsule or pod, is placed inside a tube with reduced air pressure and moves forward within this tube. In extreme cases, it is preferable to create a vacuum in order to eliminate compression issues in the front of the vehicle. This idea has been on the table since the nineteenth century, but up until now, it has come up against technological readiness and investment issues. In 2013, Elon Musk associated his name with this transport system, and coined the term Hyperloop Alpha. He therefore relaunched the idea and announced that the system would allow users to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco (550 km) in 30 minutes, for a provisional cost of 5.1 billion euros. However, SpaceX creator Elon Musk has chosen not to develop Hyperloop himself. 5 FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 6. 6 6 MAGNETICALLY YOURS Hyperloop The Transport of the Future… has just turned a Hundred! For more than a century, research has been undertaken to create a mode of transport without contact, propelled by a magnetic field.
  • 7. 7 7 IN 1914, ÉMILE BACHELET BUILT A DEMONSTRATOR FOR THE FIRST EVER “MAGNETIC LEVITATION TRAIN”. SINCE THEN, ENGINEERS HAVE DREAMT OF REACHING 1,000 KM/H. 7 FUTURISTE… ET DÉJÀ CENTENAIRE !
  • 8. 8 MAGNETIC LEVIATION IS STILL AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE 50 years of experiments First prototype in Germany, 1970 (Transrapid 01), and then in 1972, in Japan (Maglev ML100). 6 lines, 77 km in total 6 lines with magnetic levitation provide commercial service. They are not all designed for high-speed travel. 603 km/h In 2015, a Japanese Maglev L0 series reached 603 km/h. This is 4,4% faster than the French TGV. FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 9. 9 9 THE GERMAN TRANSRAPID IS ADOPTED BY THE CHINESE In 1979, the Transrapid 05 was the first ever train with magnetic levitation to carry passengers. However, its considered Berlin-Hamburg line never saw the day because of prohibitive cost. The only Transprapid line currently in service is a shuttle between Shanghai and Pudong airport (30 km) - this Transrapid reaches 501 km/h (431 km/h under normal service conditions). Launched in 2002, this German technology, assembled in China, has allowed Chinse industry to claim the technology as their own. It has since been transferred to CRRC by Siemens and ThyssenKrupp. The Transrapid airport shuttle in Shanghai is constantly in deficit. Its average load factor stands at 20%. This is partially explained by the relative lack of commodities of the line which does not travel directly to the town centre. 9 FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 10. 10 The Japanese Maglev (JR-Maglev, alias SCMaglev) relies on a technique which uses superconductors. The forces lifting the vehicle are also those that enable it to move forward and keep it in the centre of the track. In 2009, a decision was taken to build a Maglev linking Tokyo to Nagoya, two cities separated by 258 km, which could be connected in 40 minutes, or twice as quickly as with the high-speed train already in service. This 286 km line would include 256.6 km of tunnels and 11.3 km of viaducts and would cost some 55 billion dollars. It would feature 16 carriage units (1,000 passengers) – it is scheduled to open in 2027. JR have also considered extending the line to Osaka, (403 km from Tokyo) by 2025. THE MAGLEV HALVES RAIL TRANSIT TIME 10 FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 11. 11 11 Transrapid The Shanghai Transrapid uses electromagnetic suspension (EMS). To lift the train, passive magnetic materials are placed beneath the line, and electromagnets facing upwards are secured to the train. This is why the vehicle comes right up to the sides of the track. Unlike electrodynamic systems, the Transrapid operates permanently at top speed and does not require a lower speed “landing train” - this facilitates the construction of the lines. JR-Maglev (SCMaglev) The JR-Maglev uses electrodynamic suspension (EDS). Magnets (superconductor or permanent) are placed inside the vehicle, which creates currents, induced in coils (integrated into the line panels), as the vehicle passes by them. The result creates an electromagnetic field which interacts with that of the train, thus making it levitate and propelling it forward. The advantage of superconductivity is that is allows for stronger magnetic fields. Larger trains/line distances are necessary for very high speeds. The main disadvantages of this technology, besides construction and running costs (the superconductor magnets must be cooled at a very low temperature), are the safety risks linked to a potential exposure of passengers to magnetic fields. The system does not guarantee levitation at low speeds. It is therefore necessary to ass wheels to the train for operation at lower speed. FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED! EMS OR EDS? A DECISIVE TECHNOLOGICAL CHOICE
  • 12. 12 CRRC HAS ENTERED THE RACE China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) is a Chinese state company which has become the world’s largest constructor of rail equipment. In 2016, CRRC announced it intended to create a train running with magnetic levitation capable of exceeding 600 km/h, a speed already reached by the Japanese Maglev. A life-size model of the new train was presented in 2019. Separated by 1,300 km, Shanghai and Beijing are already connected by a high-speed train. Magnetic levitation should allow this journey to be reduced from 4 to 2 hours. FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 13. 13 ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS OF MAGNETIC LEVITATION Speed at maximum and cruise levels greater than that of a high-speed train Risk of derailment is theoretically absent Reduced noise pollution Cost of a fully equipped line is notably higher than that of a high-speed train line Problems of electromagnetic compatibility with other neighbouring electronic devices Possible effects of electromagnetic fields on the health of users Incompatibility of magnetic levitation with the transport of heavy goods Energy consumption twice as high as high-speed rail Incompatibility with traditional train networks FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 14. 14 14 A FUTURE FOR OPEN-AIR MAGNETIC LEVITATION The Hyperloop announcement has not affected large open-air magnetic levitation schemes launched before or after this event In the result of research and tests undertaken over half a century, open air magnetic levitation proves to be capable of reaching 600 km/h. Aerodynamics create an increase close to the highest possible speed for a mainline plane flying at a low altitude. From Beijing to Shanghai, or along the Tokyo-Nagoya-Kyoto axis, new lines with magnetic levitation are set to split travel time in half, compared to that of high-speed train lines already in service. The circulation in a low air pressure tube further reduces aerodynamic constraints, but adds issues linked to creating and maintaining a total or partial vacuum. These are numerous and complex. The space sector already deals with some of these issues. FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 15. 15 15 WITH OR WITHOUT AIR ? Hyperloop The Transport of the Future… has just turned a Hundred! By definition, the air around us opposes a resistance to movement, yet certain technologies try to utilize this phenomenon to their advantage, using it like a cushion that eliminates friction and isolates it from the vehicle’s guiding equipment. From “Vactrain” depression systems to the Aerotrain, Hyperloop Alpha integrates ideas which have already been explored.
  • 16. 16 HYPERLOOP IS THE SUCCESSOR OF “VACTRAINS” THAT RUN INSIDE A TUBE CONTAINING LOW-PRESSURE AIR The idea of lowering pressure in a tube to move a vehicle forward appeared in the nineteenth century. Created to connect the American coasts, the project was rumoured to be faster than the plane. Hyperloop projects are presented in a transparent tube whose cost could penalise the project. Levitation and propulsion of the capsule can rely on magnetic systems alone. Without a frontal compressor or vacuum, the tube section would have to be much larger than the vehicle. If the air in the tube is close to a vacuum, the most ambitious projects could reach 4,000 km/h. FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 17. 17 SIMPLE AND EFFICIENT: AIR CUSION LEVITATION Pioneered in 1965 Jean Bertin’s Aérotrain is guided by a line shaped like an inverted T. The train levitates above the line using an air cushion and it is driven by a motor and propeller. The use of an air cushion The air cushion eliminates friction and allows the vehicle to glide over a surface. This works over water (Hovercraft, Naviplane), land (Terraplane) and with guided transport (Aérotrain). 430 km/h Equipped with a reactor, the Aérotrain I80 reached 430 km/h in 1974. An alternative to magnetic levitation In a tube where a vacuum is “partial”, the residual air would allow the generation of an air cushion beneath the vehicle, according to Elon Musk’s blueprint. This is a much more cost- effective solution than magnetic levitation. FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 18. 18 18 Travelling at top speed, yet incompatible with train networks, the Aérotrain was shelved in 1974 and replaced with high-speed electric TGV trains after the first oil crisis. 18 FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 19. 19 19 Born in France in 2016, the Spacetrain project also uses the Aérotrain’s air cushion and inverted T-line systems, to which it adds linear induction motors that could reach 540 km/h. 19 FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 20. 20 20 SWISSMETRO: A HYPERLOOP IN 1992 Hyperloop The Transport of the Future… has just turned a Hundred! Close to current Hyperloop projects, SwissMetro was nonetheless developed in the early 90s, but finally judged impossible to operate in the foreseeable future.
  • 21. 21 21 TWENTY YEARS BEFORE HYPERLOOP, ITS PRINCIPLES WERE RESEARCHED BY SWISSMETRO 21 FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 22. 22 In the early 70s, Rodolphe Nieth launched the SwissMetro project. Supported on a scientific level by École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), a preliminary study was funded by the Swiss Confederation as well as private companies. It was completed in March 1993. From 1992 onwards, the Swissmetro SA was founded, gathering the necessary financial support for a more detailed study. WITH SWISSMETRO, SWITZERLAND COULD HAVE BECOME A VILLAGE 22 FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 23. 23 23 Contact-free Energy Transport System Tunnel Coating Linear Motor and Guiding Inductors Levitation Inductors Air Vacuum Panel inside Tunnel Sidewalk for Emergency Evacuation Emergency Guiding and Brake System SwissMetro 20 years of research 23 FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 24. 24 24 Cross-section diagram of two proposed tunnels with vehicles Proposal A (Engine inside tunnel) Proposal B (On-board motor) A1 = Induction energy transmission A2 = Linear motors attached to the tunnel A3 = Guiding inductor A4 = Levitation inductor B1 = Induction energy transmission B2 = Linear on-board motors B3 = Guiding inductor B4 = Levitation inductor SWISSMETRO TECHNOLOGY AND OPERATION 500 km/h transport in a tube where pressure has been lowered to that met by a Concorde flying at an altitude of 18 000 m. 600 km/h could be reached, according to a simulation. Installation underground, with stations placed beneath existing train stations. Attractivity which incited the development of this transport with a view to replacing individual cars Innovative exploitation with a determined frequency, allowing for a fixed interstation schedule time (12 minutes), irrespective of distance between stations (48 to 130 km). This imposes a strong variation of maximum speeds between sections. Vehicles of 80 m weighing 50 tons for 208 seats, or possibly, 130 metres, 85 tons and 416 seats. 24 FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 25. 25 25 SwissMetro declared the project unfeasible in the foreseeable future In November 2009, the SwissMetro SA board of directors concluded that the project for an underground magnetic levitation train was not feasible in keeping with the agreed deadline. At the time, Pierre Triponez, president of SwissMetro SA, declared: “We would not be so far from achieving SwissMetro if an investor had pitched in. Yet up until now, the authorities are waiting for a sign from the economic sector and vice versa. One cannot speak of the death of SwissMetro, since the project never saw the light of day”. With the dissolution of SwissMetro SA, the rights to the project have been transferred to EPFL who are now working on a Hyperloop. SwissMetro only raised 11 million Swiss francs of investment for its research, half of which was allocated by the Swiss Confederation. The Pro SwissMetro organisation does not share the analysis of the board of directors and considers that in the mid term, the project could still be up and running. 25 FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 26. 26 26 ELON MUSK Hyperloop The Transport of the Future… has just turned a Hundred! The entrepreneur has become the mentor of Hyperloop.
  • 27. 27 ELON MUSK A Prolific Entrepreneur Elon Musk is a company director born in 1971, in South Africa, and granted American citizenship in 2002. He is often presented as the creator of Paypal and Tesla, though in reality, he purchased and developed these companies. He did, however, create SpaceX and Neuralink, amongst others - companies with surprising ambitions. Elon Musk has plans which are visionary for some, and unrealistic according to others, like, for example, his tweets announcing the creation of a human colony on Mars with a million inhabitants between now and 2050. Initiator of the Hyperloop Dynamic In August 2013, Elon Musk distributed the Hyperloop Alpha Concept paper detailing his vision of transport powered by a linear motor, in a tube where air is maintained under low pressure. The entrepreneur has organised competitions to foster initiative among companies willing to develop a Hyperloop. However, Elon Musk has not directly taken part in creating a Hyperloop. Despite incomplete research, he has announced that this system would cost ten times less than a potential high speed trainline running between Los Angeles and San Francisco. FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 28. 28 28 Why hasn’t Elon Musk protected Hyperloop? The concept is difficult to protect since it is adapted from SwissMetro guiding principles. Why hasn’t Elon Musk invested in Hyperloop? To date, it seems more secure for Elon Musk to position himself theoretically, than for him to invest massively in the first commercial Hyperloop line, whose costs may be high and whose operating fees are still uncertain. What is Elon Musks’s Hyperloop strategy? He communicates and acts as a “prophet”. If one of his projects is crowned with success, Elon Musk will leave his mark on history. As he has already become immensely successful, he would like to leave the Hyperloop project to others. 28 FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 29. 29 29 WHICH CHALLENGES ARE INTEGRAL TO KEEPING THE HYPERLOOP PROMISE? Hyperloop A futuristic mode of transport… has just turned a hundred! Though incompatible with existing infrastructures, Hyperloop promises very high speeds, though many obstacles still remain.
  • 30. 30 30 Speed: the Hyperloop Promise 30 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 Magnetic Levitation in a Vacuum (Hyperlooop) Air Travel Magnetic Levitation in the Atmosphere High-Speed Train - Established Technology Implied Increase in Running Costs High-Speed Commercial Train Currently in Service € km/h FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 31. 31 Up to 1,100 km/h To fully exploit its potential, Hyperloop must connect town centres. Decarbonised Transport in Operation Using genuinely green electricity. Interoperability To date, the players on the market are not working on common technology. Infrastructure Costs Hypothetical, Partly depends on regional topography. Safety Objectives are not unattainable But could prove costly. Uncertain Context Future health crises, international tensions. FUTURISTIC… AND ALREADY A HUNDRED!
  • 32. 32 32 THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT A detonator triggered by Elon Musk H Y P E R L O O P THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
  • 33. 33 ELON MUSK FOSTERS INNOVATION August 2013 Elon Musk, supported by his Tesla and SpaceX teams, brings out a “concept paper” * of 57 pages. It describes a transport system combining a tube placed under low pressure, motorisation using a linear motor and levitation with an air cushion, which could potentially be replaced by magnetic levitation. This description is reasonably detailed, yet completely elliptic when it comes to certain points. However, it announces very precise establishment costs. Elon Musk compared Hyperloop to Linux and has presented it in an “open source” manner to the scientific community, so that anyone may contribute to its development. * The original 2013 paper is available online: https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/blog_images/hyperloop-alpha.pdf All the projects triggered by the original document are quite different to its initial description, yet they all use the name created by Elon Musk: Hyperloop. The is no Hyperloop project funded or managed directly by Elon Musk, but not one Hyperloop creator, whatever their advancement, is as well-known as Musk. Though he is content to foster emulation between the entrepreneurs engaged in this adventure, his name will forever be associated with Hyperloop. As described in the 2013 document, the system is called Hyperloop Alpha. Elon Musk considered it as a faster cost- effective alternative to a high-speed trainline, that could be set up between Los Angeles and San Francisco. THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
  • 34. 34 CREATING A VACUUM IS TOO COSTLY Air pressure analogue to that found at an altitude of 45,000 metres A complete vacuum is difficult to create and maintain in a tube several kilometres long, so Hyperloop Alpha has opted for very low pressure instead. Reduced to 100 pascals, pressure in the tubes is a thousand times lower than the average atmospheric pressure at sea level. This reduces the aerodynamic drag by just as much. Exploiting residual air As air must be maintained in the tube, Hyperloop Alpha exploits this fact and eliminates friction thanks to an air cushion. It is created by on-board compressed air, as soon as the vehicle has reached sufficient speed, but also through the evacuation, under the vehicle, of air moved by a frontal compressor. Costlier alternatives Magnetic levitation is an alternative to the air cushion mentioned in association with Hyperloop Alpha, but would have a strong impact on cost. THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
  • 35. 35 35 PARALLEL TUBES, ONE PER DIRECTION, PLACED ON PYLONS 30 METERS APART, ARE COVERED IN PHOTOVOLTAIC PANELS. 35 THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
  • 36. 36 36 Hyperloop Alpha goes beyond the Kantrowitz Limit When a vehicle moves quickly though a tube, the presence of air, even under low pressure, means that a space must be preserved between the said vehicle and the edges of the tube, according to a ratio defined by the Kantrowitz Limit. To break this speed limit, Hyperloop Alpha has equipped its capsule with a compressor at the front of the vehicle. Blowing air out behind the capsule by making this air pass under it, the compressor works using an on-board battery. When doubled, it ensures 45 minutes of functioning and is replaced during stops in stations. 36 THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
  • 37. 37 37 HYPERLOOP ALPHA HAS BEEN CREATED FOR DISTANCES OF UP TO 1,500 KM 37 THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
  • 38. 38 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 480 890 1120 Speed (km/h) Journey Time (seconds) Los Angeles San Francisco CAUGHT BETWEEN PERFORMANCE AND COST REDUCTION Mach 0.91 Hyperloop Alpha predicts a maximum speed of 1,120 km/h – a speed situated in the higher subsonic range. 28 passengers per capsule Each Hyperloop Alpha capsule has a width of 1.35 m with a frontal surface area of 1.4 m2 . Capsules adapted to the transport of cars would raise establishment costs by 25%. 1 g of longitudinal acceleration Placed every 100 km, the linear motors of the Hyperloop Alpha are only installed on 1% of the total length of tubes. They guarantee vehicle acceleration and deceleration. A departure every 2 minutes With 30 departures an hour of 28-seater capsules, this system could accommodate 840 passengers per hour and per direction. THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
  • 39. 39 By withstanding a lateral acceleration of 0.5 g, Hyperloop Alpha has determined a minimal radius for its curves – according to the speed considered – of 3.67 km at 480 km/h, 12.6 km at 890 km/h and 23.5 km at 1,120 km/h. ACCELERATION IS PART OF THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA EXPERIENCE 39 THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
  • 40. 40 HYPERLOOP ALPHA LEAVES QUESTIONS HANGINIG Managing capsule gyroscopic movement Aligning the rotor of the linear motor with the corresponding stator of the infrastructure when they come together, at intervals of 100 km Conception of stations and buffers between partial vacuum zones and the open air Conception of signalling Maintenance of infrastructure and capsules Assistance in the event of a capsule immobilised inside a tube, with fire or smoke emanating from the on-board battery Evaluation of magnetic levitation – costs and demand Realisation of small-scale prototypes for the evaluation of physical issues Genuine interest in the system compared to existing rail and plane offers, if the stations are located outside of urban centres and must be accessed on the periphery, like airports. THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
  • 41. 41 41 ELON MUSK ESTABLISHED THE NAME HYPERLOOP. IT HAS BEEN ADOPTED BY A FAMILY OF PROJECTS INCLUDING THOSE IN THE ACADEMIC WORLD. 41 THE HYPERLOOP ALPHA CONCEPT
  • 42. 42 42 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP Start-ups or academia: everyone is rolling up their sleeves H Y P E R L O O P
  • 43. 43 43 WHO SHALL CREATE THE FIRST HYPERLOOP ? 43 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 44. 44 SIX COMPANIES ARE LEADING THE WAY Three out of six are European Among the six companies developing the main Hyperloop projects, three are European: Hardt Hyperloop (Netherlands), Nevomo (Poland) and Zeleros (Spain). Two have entities located in France Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has an R&D centre and test strip of 330 m near Toulouse. Transpod has its offices in Limoges and has built a test strip of 3 km to the scale of 1:2 in the surrounding area. 450 M€ Since 2013, Hyperloop projects have received 450 million euros in funding. The majority comes from the private sector. To date, the most relevant players seem to be Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO), Transpod, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) and Hardt. These four firms have benefitted from the largest sums. REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 45. 45 HYPERLOOP INVESTMENT AND ACHIEVEMENTS REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP Headquarters and Offices Commercial Discussions Funding (Euros) Test Strip Staff 290 340M 46M 30M 15M 7M 5M 20 26 23 33 Las Vegas: 500m, 1:1 scale Netherlands Spain Poland, Berlin Spain Poland USA, UK, Canada, Ireland, Mexico 50 employees 500 contributors & consultants USA, UAE, Spain, France, Brazil, China, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine Europe, South Korea, UAE, Japan, Turkey Toulouse: 330m Abu Dhabi: 5km (planned in 2021) Grönignen Province: 3km (planned for 2022) Spain: 2-3km (planned for 2021 or 2022, incomplete as of April 2021) 48m, 1:5 scale Life-size model expected mid-2021 Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, USA, Australia USA (California), Dubai, London USA (California), Barcelona, Dubai, São Paulo, Toulouse Canada, Limoges, Paris Limoges: 3km, 1:2 scale Beginning of the construction: 2020/2021 Edmonton: 1:1 scale
  • 46. 46 46 Expected Concentration In the long term, a consolidation of the sector is probable around one or two major players. The search for interoperability shall contribute to this concentration. 46 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 47. 47 TECHNOLOGIES OF THE MAIN HYPERLOOP PROJECTS REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP Propulsion Power and Supply Electromagnetic Linear Motor Electromagnetic Linear Motor Electricity Infrastructure Low Pressure Tube (100Pa) Network junctions work as access and exit ramps towards road network Electromagnetic Suspension Upper rail No wheels at low speed 6/9 Electromagnetic Linear Motor Low Pressure Tube (100Pa) Diameter: 13ft (about 4m) Height of Pylon: 20ft (about 6m) Conductible Line Passive Magnetic Levitation for high speed Wheels for low speed 6/9 Electromagnetic Linear Motor Low Pressure Tube (100Pa) Conductible Steel 5/9 6/9 Electromagnetic Linear Motor Magnetic Levitation on existing high-speed rail: Magrail Lower rail Magnetic Levitation on existing high-speed rail: Magrail Lower rail 3/9 Compressed Air Propulsion Tube diameter: 4m Pressure > 100Pa (according to Zeleros) Passive Levitation Technology Lower rail 3/9 Levitation High speed/Low speed Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Electromagnetic Levitation Lower rail at low speed Electromagnetic Suspension (Attraction) Top and bottom rail Electricity Speed plasma arc for high speed and rail (using a shoe) for low speed Electricity Energy recuperated when breaking Electricity Energy recuperated when breaking Electricity. Battery fueled propulsion Electricity
  • 48. 48 UNIVERSITES AND START-UPS ARE PART OF THE HYPERLOOP DYNAMIC REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 49. 49 49 VIRGIN HYPERLOOP (EX-HYPERLOOP ONE) Hyperloop Turning Hyperloop into a Reality Virgin Hyperloop is currently pushing the most advanced proposal when it comes to developing Hyperloop.
  • 50. 50 50 VIRGIN HYPERLOOP IS THE FIRST TO WELCOME PASSENGERS ON BOARD Tests on a real-life scale Virgin Hyperloop has built a test strip to a real-life scale, to test and validate its subsystems - propulsion, levitation, electronic supply and brakes. First passengers To date, the Virgin demonstrator is the only one which has carried people (members of the team). This maiden voyage took place on October 8th 2020, covering 500 m and reaching 172 km/h. There is still a lot of work to do for this model to be ready for the commercial establishment of a viable line with a speed of over 1,000 km/h. The capacity to attract funding Out of the 443 M€ raised by the sector, Virgin Hyperloop has garnered 340 M€, or more than three quarters of total investments in Hyperloop projects. REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 51. 51 51 THESE PASSENGERS ARE THE FIRST TO EVER TRAVEL BY HYPERLOOP 51 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 52. 52 Virgin Hyperloop plans the construction of a new experimental strip of 11 km. Their commercial objective seems to make passengers a priority, but the potential of freight is not to be neglected. The economic model could consist in sales of licences or a direct commercialisation of the service to end users. PASSENGERS FIRST, THEN FREIGHT, FOR VIRGIN HYPERLOOP 52 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 53. 53 53 TRANSPOD Hyperloop Turning Hyperloop into a Reality This Canadian company plans to build a prototype near Limoges, then another in Canada.
  • 54. 54 54 Technical Features Transpod This mode of energy transmission is made up of a brake shoe operating at lower speeds and a plasma arc to reach higher ones. The vehicle is equipped with a wheel/electric motor combination for acceleration and deceleration phases, and use linear engines for cruising. 54 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 55. 55 55 EACH TRANSPOD CAPSULE COULD CONTAIN UP TO 100 PASSENGERS OR 10 TO 15 TONS OF FREIGHT. 55 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 56. 56 56 Transpod estimates line construction costs at 27 M€/km 56 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 57. 57 57 An economic model in two stages In the short term, Transpod would like to licence its technology, sell its vehicles and be a minority shareholder of future corridors using TransPod technology. In the long term, Transpod could also handle upkeep and maintenance for the entire system. 57 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 58. 58 58 HYPERLOOP TT Hyperloop Turning Hyperloop into a Reality This American company has set up its R&D centre in Toulouse.
  • 59. 59 59 A tube on a real-life scale is ready for action Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) have undertaken tests with capsules on a reduced scale and are now focusing on systems to manage pressure inside the tube. The capsules could welcome between 28 and 50 people and the system should be capable of transporting 160,000 passengers per day. 59 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 60. 60 60 AFTER TOULOUSE, A LAUNCH STRIP IS PLANNED IN ABU DHABI Inductrack Patent Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) have opted for passive electromagnetic levitation. This is derived from the Inductrak patent developed in the 1990s. Commercialisation of licences Their economic model is based on an offer of licences destined for transport operators, and the construction of running equipment. Test Strip A 5 km launch strip is planned in Abu Dhabi for a budget of 138 M€. REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 61. 61 61 Brazil, China, South Korea, the UAE, France, India, Indonesia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the Ukraine, the USA… Hyperloop TT already plans to install lines in over 10 countries 61 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 62. 62 62 HARDT HYPERLOOP Hyperloop Turning Hyperloop into a Reality The Dutch start-up Hardt Hyperloop was originally a student project.
  • 63. 63 Hardt Hyperloop accelerated its development by raising 15 million Euros in private and public funds. The company is leading a working group on European standards dedicated to Hyperloop, and they aim to build a European centre for Hyperloop trials in the Netherlands. Low-speed tests have been performed regarding levitation, propulsion, switching lines and the creation of a vacuum. THE HARDT HYPERLOOP FOUNDERS WON A COMPETITION ORGANISED BY SPACE X IN 2017 63 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 64. 64 FREIGHT FIRST FOR HARDT To begin with, Hardt Hyperloop plans to transport freight. An initial route, dubbed the “Route of flowers” could link Amsterdam to Rotterdam. Capsules are to move within tubes with a diameter of 1.10 m, at a cruise speed of 150 km/h, and a capacity of 1.125 t. With a frequency of 15 capsules per minute and direction, transport capacity could reach 1012.5 t/h - the payload of 40 tractor-trailers. Passenger transport could be considered at a later date. The capacity of a capsule would be of 60 persons, at an average speed of 700 km/h. The system could therefore transport up to 20,000 passengers per hour per direction. Hardt Hyperloop announced that their vehicle should consume 38 Wh per passenger and per kilometre, at 700 km/h and at 60 % of its load. The construction costs of their solution are estimated at 30 M€/km, including vehicles. The Hardt economic model is based on an offer that includes the technology licences and system maintenance services. It is aimed at transport operators. Hardt Hyperloop has launched a feasibility study in partnership with Amsterdam-Schiphol airport. This consists in implanting a Hyperloop system in the airport so as to reenforce its position as a European air hub. The result is a project for a network of 2 200 km in length with 18 stations spread out over five different countries (Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK). This Hyperloop would therefore replace current offers in the field of short-haul flights and transport 12 passengers by 2050. Hardt Hyperloop estimates that its system will reach its operational stage in 2028. REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 65. 65 65 The Hardt system includes permanent magnets which prevent the use of low-speed rail. Its infrastructure allows for the switching of lines. 65 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 66. 66 66 ZELEROS Hyperloop Turning Hyperloop into a Reality In 2016, this Spanish start-up took part in a Hyperloop competition organised by Space X and was awarded the “Top Design Concept” and “Propulsion / Compression Subsystem Technical Excellence” prizes. That same year, Altran began to invest in its capital.
  • 67. 67 67 Zeleros are not trying to reach complete vacuum At around 50 hPa, the pressure in the Zeleros is above that announced by the competition. It is analogue to that of an airplane flying at an altitude of 20,000 metres. This approach, pioneered by SwissMetro, benefits from lower maintenance and running costs. 67 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 68. 68 68 Inside the Zeleros tube, a lower rail guides the vehicle and can make it roll to one side in the event of an emergency. 68 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 69. 69 69 THE ZELEROS CAPSULE IS PROPULSED BY A LINEAR MOTOR FOR ACCELERATION AND BY A TURBINE AT CRUISE SPEED. 69 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 70. 70 70 While Hyperloop Alpha directs air flow beneath the capsule to keep the engine running, Zeleros passes it over the top of the capsule. 70 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 71. 71 71 ZELEROS FOCUSES ON FREIGHT The Zeleros team have performed tests and are now working on: Sub-system optimization Propulsion and levitation development Vehicle conception Patent filing After the construction of a prototype to the scale of 1:3, Zeleros is considering an initial line of freight for 2023, a date which does not seem entirely realistic. According to Zeleros, the CAPEX investment of their solution would come to 20 M€/km and their vehicle would carry about fifty passengers. The economic model rests on the sale of their technologies taking the form of licenses to future transport operators. 71 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 72. 72 72 NEVOMO (EX-HYPER POLAND) Hyperloop Turning Hyperloop into a Reality This new Polish company is using an evolution of the traditional rail system to create a Hyperloop in three stages.
  • 73. 73 TWO INTERMEDIARY STAGES IN BUILDING A HYPERLOOP WITH NEVOMO (EX-HYPER POLAND) The Magrail hybrid Electromagnetic shuttles and classic trains share the same track. Magrail is aiming for 415 km/h on high-speed lines. Rail signalling has yet to be validated. Hyperrail Evolution of the Magrail. the vehicle is now placed inside a low-pressure tube located above train lines and reaching 1,000 km/h. Hyperloop This stage requires technologies dedicated to the construction of new infrastructures. REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 74. 74 74 A miniature Magrail is already up and running Nevomo has performed tests on a Magrail to the scale of 1:5 on a 48-metre strip. Many of its features have been tested with success - passive levitation, linear pull, data communication, acquisition elements and general mechanics. Nevomo estimates that a life-size prototype of the Magrail could be developed by 2021. The certification of the system may be granted between 2022 and 2023. No roadmap has yet been arranged for the following stages (Hyperrail, Hyperloop). 74 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 75. 75 The economic model considered is founded on licences sold to rail constructors. In the long term, Nevomo would like to be acquired by a company with worldwide experience in the rail sector. NEVOMO : REPURCHASING AS AN OBJECTIVE 75 REAL-LIFE HYPERLOOP
  • 76. 76 76 RISING TO CHALLENGES A question of means H Y P E R L O O P
  • 77. 77 77 Hyperloop Rising to Challenges The health crisis has led to an unprecedented decrease in passenger transport.
  • 78. 78 FIGURES FOR TRANSPORT IN 2020 COMPARED TO 2019 -42% Major French rail travel (TGV, Intercity lines). Source : SNCF -66% Passengers using airlines on a worldwide scale. -75.6% Passengers using airlines for international travel, on a worldwide scale. -48.8% Passengers using airlines on domestic flights, on a worldwide scale. -92.8% Air traffic at the height of the crisis on April 12th, 2020. 485 B$ Losses for the air travel sector. 370 B$ for airlines, 115 B$ for airports. Source : IATA RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 79. 79 79 THE EXISTENCE OF DEMAND, AS WELL AS ITS DURABILITY, MUST BE ENSURED IN ORDER TO MOTIVATE PRIVATE INVESTORS 79 RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 80. 80 80 TOPOGRAPHY LEADS TO EXTRA COSTS FOR ULTRA-HIGH-SPEED TRAVEL Hyperloop Rising to Challenges The price of property in urban centers, as well as engineering necessary to overcome natural obstacles, have a strong influence on operating costs.
  • 81. 81 81 REACHING THE HEART OF THE CITY SIGNIFICANTLY RAISES COSTS 81 RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 82. 82 82 82 Bringing Hyperloop to the very heart of a city comes at a price. If this cannot be ensured, the positions of airports or high-speed lines circling cities may be possible locations for Hyperloop stations RISING TO CHALLENGES Route to Hyperloop station Acceleration Maximum speed The time spent at maximum speed is inferior to half of total transport time Deceleration Route from Hyperloop station Entering urban centres Erasing differences in topography Hyperloop Departure station Hyperloop Arrival station Upon departure and arrival, one must take into account: - Either travel time between the town centre and the Hyperloop station located outside of the city, - Or the cost of creating an underground hub (real estate, public works engineering). Very high speed (± 1,000 km/h) does not allow vehicles to follow the curves of the land. It therefore requires the setting up of complicated and costly engineering schemes (tunnels, viaducts). High speed trains access the town centre using existing infrastructure at surface level, networks which are shared and non-specific. Hyperloop can access a city using an underground line but at an important cost - amortisement may not be offset by its utilisation for Mass Transit on a regional level. LGV
  • 83. 83 83 RAISING SPEEDS IMPLIES RAISING CURVE RADIUS 83 RISING TO CHALLENGES In effect, transversal acceleration is equal to linear speed squared, divided by curve radius (or angular speed squared, multiplied by curve radius), so raising speed therefore implies an adaptation of the curves these lines follow. These limitations are added to those presented by the topography of the land to be covered, which can call for specific civil engineering schemes (tunnels, viaducts) to overcome obstacles occurring along the way.
  • 84. 84 84 THE FASTER THE SPEED, THE LESS AN INCREASE OF 100 KM/H AFFECTS TOTAL TRANSIT TIME 84 When circulating at 100 km/h, an acceleration of 100 km/h divides journey time in half. However, gaining 100 km/h when already running at 1,000 km/h only saves marginal time. This is why a speed of 300, or even 350 km/h, is the compromise to reach between cost and transit time for ultra high-speed rail travel within Europe. RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 85. 85 85 CRUCIAL TECHNICAL MASTERY Hyperloop Rising to Challenges From managing a “partial vacuum”, to interoperability founded on shared standards and signalling conception, there are still many technical challenges to overcome.
  • 86. 86 BREAKING THROUGH THE KANTROWITZ LIMIT As a capsule approaches, air present in the tube flows out from its central section towards the back of the vehicle, thus passing through a limited space situated between the capsule edges and the internal wall of the tube. This phenomenon leads to an acceleration of flow speed, according to principle, derived from fluid mechanics, of sustained flow rate. Because of the very high speed of the capsule, the speed at which the flow passes through the tube can, at times, come close to the speed of sound, creating local shockwaves between the walls of the tube and the vehicle. This in turn leads to the localised saturation of flow which limits its speed, causing an accumulation of air in front of the capsule, an accumulation which can limit maximum speed. Two solutions could solve this issue: Raising the diameter of the tube to increase the amount of space for the air as it passes around the vehicle. This would push back the critical speed at which the flow saturates. The drawback of this solution is that it raises infrastructure costs. Installing a compressor in front of the capsule in order to push air towards the back. This solution has been considered by certain Hyperloop players. RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 87. 87 87 GAUGING PRESSURE Bringing a flight of fancy back to reality The Hyperloop concept is founded on the circulation of capsules in tubes where air pressure has been lowered to reduce friction. This is theoretically conducive to transport at very high speeds with reduced energy consumption. Though seductive, to be applied, the idea needs to rise to several technical challenges: • Ensuring that the tubes stay watertight over time, yet also allowing the evacuation of heat (pod HVAC, energy generated by the brakes, friction between the capsule and wall, etc.). • Permitting frequent pressurisation and depressurisation necessary for system maintenance as well in the event of passenger evacuation. • Conserving a certain amount of air pressure so as to cool hauling equipment and guarantee the renewal of conditioned air for passenger comfort. These vacuum pumps come from the Hyperloop TT test facility set up in Toulouse. One of the main expenditures of the Hyperloop system involves keeping them in operation. RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 88. 88 To date, only Hardt Hyperloop has put together and patented a line switch system. This system has only been tested at low speeds and on a small scale. Yet the maneuvering speed of signaling systems is a factor which could limit the output of lines. The Hyperloop players promise the departure of a capsule every 30 seconds if the system is running at full capacity. With such a frequency, how to guarantee consistent verification, commands, locking mechanisms and signaling network safety? HOW TO MANŒUVRE SIGNALLING ADAPTED TO THE CIRCULATION OF CAPSULES ? 88 RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 89. 89 89 Essential and regular geometric controls to assess seismic risk Maintaining the alignment necessary for high speed, as well as airtight tubes, means that Hyperloop structures raised off the ground must possess seismic isolation in accordance with local risk. This could lead to significant construction costs. Following seismic activity, it is essential to verify the geometry of installations in order to ensure that no permanent movement of their foundations is damaging the system. In the event of underground Hyperloops, distortions could appear after a seismic shift. Periodic geometric assessments are therefore necessary. 89 RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 90. 90 Hyperloop is an automated, ultra high-speed mode of transport. It calls for systems of detection and communication which are robust yet also extremely fast, within a highly limited environment (underground, ultra-fast, vacuum, within a tube, etc.). In the event of transport structured by short intervals between capsules launched at very high speeds, it is crucial to be able to detect incidents far in advance of the position of a capsule, but also to act with a reaction time which is incompatible with direct human monitoring. IS THERE A PILOT IN THE POD ? 90 RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 91. 91 CONTROLLING EMERGENCY BREAKING Imagine a hyperloop launched at 700 km/h, with an interval of 11 s between each capsule, aiming to carry 20 000 people per hour and per direction using 60-seater capsules. In this case, the distance between two capsules is of 2,100 m. If we admit that emergency brakeage is limited to 1 g, brakeage distance at 700 km/h would be of around 1,900 m. In the event of a human triggering a brake system, it would be necessary to add the distance covered during this person’s reaction time (1 s), or about 200 m. The stoppage distance in this case would therefore be of 2,100 m. Admitting these hypotheses : For a human to activate emergency brakes, they would have to be informed of an incident situated at least 2,100 m in front of the capsule. Each second lost before reacting prolongs the distance by 200 m. With the departure frequency retained here, and two capsules separated by 2 100 m, the next capsule has between 1 and 11 s to “react” to an incident involving the front capsule: › If the front capsule experiences an incident that stops it immediately (collision with a fixed obstacle, with a signaling strip, etc.), the following capsule will have exactly enough time to stop as long as the brakeage is triggered in the second following the occurrence of the event. This case is not highly likely as the environment is sealed off and the main foreseeable obstacles are spare parts from the vehicles or infrastructure. › If the front capsule encounters a situation calling for emergency brakeage at 1 g, the following capsule will have 4.2 km in order to stop (2.1 km of inter-distance and 2.1 km of front capsule stoppage distance). In this case, the brakeage of the second capsule must be triggered in the 10 s following that of the first capsule. RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 92. 92 92 HEALTH RISKS YET TO BE EVALUATED Before the actual establishment of electromagnetic levitation or propulsion systems, it is necessary not only to study their electromagnetic compatibility with other electronic devices placed nearby (ElectroMagnetic Compatibility), but also the possible health risks caused by exposure of humans to magnetic fields (ElectroMagnetic Exposure). These humans could be passengers on board the trains or near their lines, but also local dwellers and the personnel of companies manning or performing maintenance on these transport systems. RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 93. 93 93 Is system interoperability a genuine possibility? The many specificities of each Hyperloop system do not make them conducive to interoperability between rival Hyperloops or with other guided transport systems. Only the European Hyperloops touch upon a necessary interoperability. Interoperability would therefore require common technical specification and standardisation - a major issue for Hyperloop companies. 93 RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 94. 94 When it comes to standardisation, the JTC 20 Committee (Joint Technical Committee) was created in February 2020. It is piloted by the European Committee for standardisation (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). This initiative has been led by several European and Canadian Hyperloop players. Among them, we find Hardt Hyperloop, Nevomo (Hyper Poland), Transpod and Zeleros. The objective of this committee is to create standards and common specifications, interoperable systems but also shared objectives of safety for Hyperloop systems. One of its aims is the reduction of cost and time necessary for its development and operation. It is probable that the company that will become the most advanced in Hyperloop development will be able to impose its techniques and procedures as standard for the other players. EUROPEANS ARE ATTEMPTING TO STANDARDISE HYPERLOOP 94 RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 95. 95 95 SAFETY DETERMINES REGULATIONS Hyperloop Rising to Challenges European regulation already exists on the subject of rail safety, including tunnels. The manning of a commercial Hyperloop line must be accompanied by regulations which are just as strict.
  • 96. 96 SEATBELTS IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY Normal Conditions The acceleration and deceleration of capsules under normal conditions should be comparable to those practiced by a high- speed train when it comes to user acceptability, even by the most vulnerable. This limits g-force to 0.1 or maybe 0.2 g during deceleration. Under these conditions, no form of restraint is necessary. An automobile seatbelt is blocked at 0.3 g. Emergency brakeage The optimal running of a Hyperloop is founded on reduced intervals between capsules running at top speed. Most Hyperloop projects mention the possibility of emergency brake systems with deceleration to the tune of 1 g. This calls for a “three point” seatbelt with a locking system, or even passive force limiters and an active tensioning device (pretensioner) in the event of a collision, notably at signalling points and switches. Two to three times quicker than the highest of high-speed trains, Hyperloop raises issues regarding passenger protection needs when it comes to capsule movements. RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 97. 97 With Hyperloop, it is necessary to study the risks of turbulence inside the tube, notably turbulences of flow triggered by the capsule preceding it. They could justify restraining passengers using seat-belts. The possibility of lateral movements or rolls during the levitation or suspension of capsules must be considered, and likewise, during transitions between transport using wheels and levitation or suspension. THE HYPERLOOP INDUCES ZONES OF TURBULENCES FROM THE GROUND UPWARDS 97 RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 98. 98 IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LEAVE THE CAPSULE WITHOUT EXTREME RISKS In case of passenger evacuation, emergency exits shall be designed along the lines. Safety vehicles shall also be available to carry passengers as well as to haul broken down capsules. The setting up of these structures could call for a “service” tube comparable to that of Channel Tunnel. RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 99. 99 TOWARDS REGULATION ADAPTED TO UNIQUE HYPERLOOP FEATURES The stages of certification and approval are crucial when it comes to the setting up of any commercial means of transport. The Hyperloop is a new mode of transport at the crossroads between high-speed rail and air travel - legislative bodies will simultaneously have to adapt existing regulations and create new texts adapted to specific Hyperloop features. On a European level, the creation of a relevant legal framework could take five to ten years. European and American regulatory bodies are already hard at work. The European Commission predicts it will launch schemes to achieve this in 2021. Research shall be led by teams of experts along with the companies developing Hyperloop. As for the USA, in July 2020, they declared themselves in favour of the creation of legislation concerning the Hyperloop. The Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council has taken on the mission of publishing regulatory guidelines for Hyperloop over the next six months. These advances illustrate the increase of interest shown by these two markets for Hyperloop. RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 100. 100 100 ECONOMIC AND ENERGETIC RELEVANCE Hyperloop Rising to Challenges High final cost and energy consumption.
  • 101. 101 101 Hardt Hyperloop has created data comparing the Hyperloop, high speed trains and air travel between Paris and Amsterdam. The table on the left presents total transit time for a journey from Paris (Gare du Nord) to Amsterdam (Central Station) including waiting time, check-in and safety checks. Hardt Hyperloop have announced a travel time of 1h30, door-to door. This rises to 2h40 if we add 0h40 for journeys on public transport towards outlying stations such as airports, and 0h30 for the handling of passengers in stations. According to this estimate and on this journey, Hyperloop would be faster than a plane and a high-speed train. SAVING TIME WITH HYPERLOOP RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 102. 102 102 CAN PRICING SYSTEMS VALUE TIME SAVED? Few pricing elements have been communicated to date by companies in the Hyperloop sector. Hardt Hyperloop has quoted 71€ for a one-way Amsterdam-Berlin ticket. As Paris-Amsterdam is comparable in distance, the same rate may be applied. The Hardt Hyperloop price for Paris-Amsterdam is close to that of the Thalys and costs markedly less than air travel. It therefore does not seem to account for the time saved by the Hyperloop. By integrating this valuation, Thalys clients could be willing to pay 105€ for a Hyperloop ticket, and air travellers, 484€. According to this analysis, the price of a ticket sold to Hyperloop clients could therefore be markedly superior to the price announced to date by Hardt Hyperloop. RISING TO CHALLENGES Compared to Thalys Compared to Air Travel Ticket Cost (€) 3h55 3h55 Air Travel 3h40 3h40 HST (Thalys) 2h40 2h40 Hyperloop 100 200 300 400 500 204 € 65 € 105 € 484 € Source: Leonard (for cost estimates) / General Commission for Strategy and Perspective (for estimate value of time saved)
  • 103. 103 RELEVANCE OF INVESTMENT IN THE SUGGESTED MOBILITY OFFER The adjacent table shows the relation between the throughput offered by a mode of transportation and the investments it requires. According to the estimates of Hardt Hyperloop, 1,700 people could use the Paris-Amsterdam line in 2050. This is distinctively lower than rates for air travel and Thalys, outside of exceptional circumstances. Hardt Hyperloop estimates its Capex at 30 M€/km, which is higher than that of the Thalys train (22 M€/km outside of urban areas) and air travel (1.2 M€/kilometre). RISING TO CHALLENGES . 5 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 10000 10 15 20 25 30 Capex/km (M€) Hyperloop (Hardt estimate) Debit/Day (Pax) Air Travel * Dœs not include airport platforms * High-Speed Train
  • 104. 104 104 Based on Hardt Hyperloop and Transpod data, this table compares energy consumption per passenger and per kilometre, but this data does not seem realistic. The Hyperloop could in fact consume more energy than the Thalys (x 7,2) and air travail (x 1,34). Founded on Transpod characteristics, this estimate considers consumption over 400 km, with 26 000 passengers carried at a frequency of 85 capsules per hour, namely 36 passengers per capsule and 17 h of service. Placing a tube with a diameter of 4 meters in a complete vacuum with a length of 1 000 meters for 1 hour calls for 3 MW. If it only operates 2 h/day, we obtain a consumption of 230 Wh/pax.km. For propulsion, the power necessary for a capsule is given at 3 MW. By considering a journey of 1h30 for 400 km, consumption reaches 313 Wh/pax.km. Transpod and Hardt underestimate the energetic needs of the infrastructure. The running costs (OPEX) of the Hyperloop will be highly sensitive to evolutions in energy costs. 104 VACCUM WEIGHS HEAVILY ON ENERGY CONSUMPTION RISING TO CHALLENGES 100 200 300 400 500 600 Hardt Transpod Air Travel Hyperloop Our estimate Thalys Movement (Necessary energy for the transport of a pod) Vaccum (Necessary energy for the creation of a vacuum and its maintenance) 375 313 313 193 36 43 0,3 70 Wh/pax.km  Source: Leonard - Based upon technical specifications provided by different Hyperloop projects
  • 105. 105 CARBON FOOTRPRINT DEPENDS ON THE MEANS OF ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION The Hyperloop carbon footprint is favourable compared to air travel but this point needs to be put into perspective. Currently, the French energetic mix with its massively decarbonised energy encourages the Hyperloop. As for the air travel sector, its global carbon footprint could change to its advantage if biokerosene or dihydrogen use become stansdardised. This footprint is not complete as the emissions associated with the construction of infrastructures have not been taken into account. They are difficult to assess at this stage. 25 100 200 300 400 500 600 50 75 100 125 gCO2/km.pax Transpod Air Travel High-Speed Train Hyperloop (VINCI estimate) WH/pax.km RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 106. 106 SPEED ON A EUROPEAN SCALE COMES WITH HEAVY INITIAL INVESTMENT By basing ourselves on data communicated by companies involved in Hyperloop schemes: Hyperloop should be faster door-to-door than high-speed transport available today. Hyperloop has very important needs in terms of investment (Capex) yet the number of passengers it can carry is inferior to that of its competitors. Current estimates of the sector players regarding tariffication do not take into account the added value of time saved. Energy consumption and carbon footprint of the Hyperloop has yet to be quantified, to evaluate the relevance of this mode of transport compared to classic high-speed trains and air travel covering similar routes. RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 107. 107 107 HYPERLOOP FOR FREIGHT? Hyperloop Rising to Challenges The flow of express freight is a means of utilising the infrastructure at times where there is lower passenger demand.
  • 109. 109 109 An alternative to air freight? For express or messenger freight, Hyperloop could complete or replace air travel as long as grouping organisations are undertaken upstream, and output flow is redistributed downstream. What about cars? Conjured up by Elon Musk for Hyperloop Alpha, car transport by Hyperloop has not been integrated to any of the current projects. 109 RISING TO CHALLENGES
  • 110. 110 110 A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP? Does it have what it takes to become a reality? H Y P E R L O O P
  • 111. 111 111 HYPOTHETICAL TECHNICAL READINESS AND PROFITABILITY Still in the R&D phase The Hyperloop is a concept with a technology readiness level of 6 out of 9, at best. The main players offer different solutions yet many technical hurdles still remain to be overcome. Holding out without public funds? The economic viability of a model exclusively founded on private investment has not been proven at this stage. Public economic support, similar to those rail or air travel benefit from, seems necessary to give a chance to the Hyperloop industry. At this stage, energetic and environmental viability have not been proven either. A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP?
  • 112. 112 112 Operation and maintenance At the moment, companies are mainly focusing on technical development and financing to support their activities. “Operations and maintenance” (O&M) has not yet been touched upon and scheduling of capsules in stations (departure every 30 seconds), managing users and adjustment of the service to demand have not been defined yet either. 112 A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP?
  • 113. 113 113 Rounding off the existing offer Hyperloop could round off the existing offer, with an inferior capacity and at prices higher than high speed rail and air travel that we know today. It would constitute a premium offer on axes with a strong “business” potential. Freight transport also holds strong promise. 113 A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP?
  • 114. 114 WHERE TO BUILD HYPERLOOP ? Limits and opportunities The commercial success of Hyperloop depends on : • Infrastructure constraints • Level of equipment in high-speed rail at a given location • Use of existing infrastructure • Acquisition and usage of public real estate • Seismic limitations • Acceptability of territories covered without direct access • Availability of public and private funding A potential concentrated on territories without high-speed trains The potential of Hyperloop seems promising in territories calling for frequent intercity connections (especially business interests). This namely concerns West China, the UAE, the USA and Canada. In Europe, this mode of transport can only reach its full potential on a continental level. A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP?
  • 115. 115 115 Who shall build Hyperloop ? After a initial competition in the sector, there only one or two major players shall remain on this market. This may be explained by highly capitalistic R&D needs and the difficulty in achieving interoperability between several systems, over time. Players working on the development of Hyperloop will also have to face competition from high-speed rail and air transport players. 115 A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP?
  • 116. 116 116 COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT : OBJECTIVE 2030? 116 A FUTURE FOR HYPERLOOP?
  • 117. 117 Written Material: VINCI – Leonard / Agence Les Récréateurs Layout & Illustration: Agence Les Récréateurs Photo Credits: Carnegie Mellon (p. 43, 94, 98) CRRC (p. 12, 16) Deutsche Bahn (p. 9) L’Illustration (domaine public – p. 7) Hardt Hyperloop (p. 63, 65, 89, 116) Hyperloop Pod Competition (p. 16, 95, 117) Hyperloop TT (p. 2, 4, 42, 59, 60, 61, 76, 79, 82, 84, 88, 111, 113) Japan National Railway (JNR – p. 8) Japan Railway (p. 8, 10, 14) Neuralink (p. 27) Paypal (p. 27) Nevomo (p. 73, 74, 75, 93) Scientific American (p. 16) Société de l’Aérotrain (p. 17, 18) SpaceTrain / Groupe Jacques Vaucanson (p. 19) SpaceX (p. 27, 28, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39) SwissMetro / EPFL (p. 21, 22, 23, 24, 25) Tesla (p. 27, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39) ThyssenKrupp (p. 8) Transpod (p. 1, 46, 54, 55, 56, 57, 87, 90, 91, 97, 99, 107, 110, 112, 114, 115) Virgin Hyperloop (p. 50, 51, 52) Zeleros (p. 5, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71)