Hyperloop pod competition winner hits a top speed of 200mph

Remember the ambitious Hyperloop project, intended to propel passengers down tubes at high speeds to beat the limitations of road, rail and all the other transportation types we already have? Well, SpaceX has been hosting another Hyperloop pod trial, and the winners of the event hit an impressive 324 kilometers-per-hour (or 201 mph) with their invention.

WARR Hyperloop, a team of 30 students from Germany, beat two other teams to first place. Their carbon fiber pod weighs in at 176 pounds (80 kg), is powered by a 50kW electric motor, and has four pneumatic friction brakes that enable it to stop in just five seconds.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk praised the efforts of the WARR Hyperloop team but said faster speeds were definitely possible, even on the short 1.2-kilometer (0.75-mile) test tube that his company has set up in California. A third competition will be held next year.

Although we've heard a lot of talk about how fantastic the Hyperloop networks will eventually be, they're still a long way from being ready to accept passengers. SpaceX itself isn't developing any technology but is helping other organizations that are.

Potential test sites are currently being scouted out across the globe while researchers (and students) get on with the job of designing the fastest, most aerodynamic pods possible. It's hoped that eventually speeds of around 1127 kilometers-per-hour (700 mph) will be possible - not bad for your morning commute.

The technology is progressing quickly, however: WARR Hyperloop's pod, for example, showed a four-fold increase in its top speed compared with how it performed during January's competition.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.