Elon Musk's super-fast train will take you from Vienna to Budapest in 10 minutes
Published 15/03/2016 | 08:54
Tesla billionaire Elon Musk's proposal for the Hyperloop - an 800 mile-per-hour train designed to travel between far-apart cities at breakneck speeds - is coming to Europe.
The European train system would connect the cities of Bratislava, Vienna and Budapest, and has apparently been approved by the Slovakian government.
It would transport passengers 35 miles from Vienna to Bratislava in less than eight minutes. The Bratislava to Budapest journey, 100 miles long, would take 10 minutes, and the 150-mile Vienna to Budapest journey - a two-and-a-half hour drive - less than 20 minutes.
The company behind the proposal, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, already plans to build test tracks in California. This would be the first European outpost for the planned Hyperloop system.
"Hyperloop in Europe would cut distances substantially and network cities in unprecedented ways. A transportation system of this kind would redefine the concept of commuting and boost cross-border cooperation in Europe," said Vazil Hudak, Minister of Economy of the Slovak Republic. "The expansion of Hyperloop will lead to an increased demand for the creation of new innovation hubs, in Slovakia and all over Europe."
What is the Hyperloop?
Mr Musk unveiled the Hyperloop concept in 2013 as a low-cost alternative to railways and other public transport.
He claims a rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco would cost around $6 billion, a tenth of a proposed high-speed train, and that it would reduce the time it takes to get between cities to half an hour.
The train system itself would be individual pods or capsules sent through a continuous steel tube from which air is removed to create a vacuu. Each capsule floats on a layer of air, like pucks on an air hockey table, which allows the pods to move at high speeds of 760 mph.
According to proposals, a ticket on a six-person capsule would cost around $20 (£13) one way.
Its maximum acceleration is roughly 1G and feels like being in a performance car built for speed.
Has it been built yet?
The Hyperloop is purely a design concept in the experimental phase. Test tracks are currently being laid in California and Las Vegas, with plans to test a prototype Hyperloop system by the end of 2016.
Currently, there is no fixed design for the pods and there are three different companies who are trying to build a working prototype, including the Slovakian partners Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. Its test track in Quay Valley, California plans to transport 10 million people during the trial period.