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: Virgin Hyperloop One Accelerates Technology in North Las Vegas

Virgin Hyperloop One Accelerates Technology in North Las Vegas

10 Aug

During July 2017, employees at Hyperloop One in North Las Vegas, NV completed a breakthrough test that proved a high-speed pod could accelerate and glide on waves of opposing electromagnetic fields while encased in a long, evacuated tube that minimized air pressure resistance.


The DevLoop evacuated magnetic tube system, built in North Las Vegas, accelerated the XP-1 pod up to 190 miles per hour over one-third of a mile. The design and engineering team felt that the pods should be able to accelerate to even faster speeds with a longer distance test track that they will continue developing.

Hyperloop One DevLoop Test Track in North Las Vegas, NV.

Hyperloop One DevLoop Test Track in North Las Vegas, NV.

The proof of concept test opens the door to high-speed trasportation that can travel faster and cost less to construct than traditional magnetic-levitation trains in Japan and China.

Hyperloop One hopes to achieve speeds up to 750 miles per hour for cargo and passenger pod modules that zoom through evacuated tunnels within a seamless flow of other computer-controlled pods. That’s four times the speed of most existing mag-lev trains.


Las Vegas could become a transportation hub and gateway to major cities in five surrounding states with that kind of connection speed. Once a cargo pod reaches its stopping point, automated drones or shipping trucks could complete delivery of each package to the “last mile” of a target destination.


At the North Las Vegas test site, individual sections of Hyperloop tube were mounted on top of concrete pillars and welded together to form the DevLoop magnetic tube system. The company obtained a large-scale vacuum-pumping system and began monitoring the amount of air pressure reduction possible.

The cargo and passenger pods have been equipped with permanent magnets embedded as a Halbach array within the base of their chassis platforms. Each design iteration has been developed and tested in smaller vacuum chambers within the company’s Los Angeles development center.

An aluminum track built along the bottom, inside floor of the DevLoop tube serves as a repelling surface for the Halbach array installed in the base of each pod. As the permanent magnets move at high speed over the aluminum surface beneath the traveling pod, they induce eddy currents in the metal track, that in turn creates a magnetic field of opposite polarity.

The repelling magnetic fields continue to suspend the pod above the aluminum track as it surfs on this magnetic wave within the low-pressure atmosphere of the enclosed tube system.

Unlike traditional mag-lev trains, the Hyperloop system does not require continuous electromagnetic propulsion points. Once acceleration reaches a fast cruising speed within the low-pressure tube through an active electromagnetic stator that generates strong electromagnetic fields, the need for additional acceleration or deceleration stator nodes can be spaced up to 18 miles apart along the length of the tube.

At full speed, each pod’s magnetic Halbach array glides over the aluminum track and induces eddy currents that create repelling magnetic fields for up to 18 miles until another active stator push or pull is needed to accelerate or decelerate the Halbach array.

Hyperloop One employs about 300 people at its Los Angeles and Las Vegas sites, with about 100 employees currently in Nevada.

The original transportation concept of using evacuated pneumatic tubes for transporting pods and people has been envisioned by engineers and scientists, like US rocket pioneer Robert Goddard, for over 100 years.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory defined component parts of the system during the late 20th century.

The most recent wave of Hyperloop development interest was christened and jump-started by Elon Musk, CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla, Inc. Musk published an open-source research paper during 2012 that outlined a vision for his Hyperloop system, with a design that employed linear induction motors and compressed air.

Musk also created The Boring Company to investigate and develop high-speed tunneling machines that would need to dig tunnels at least 3 times faster than existing systems, in order to make the Hyperloop tunnel systems less costly to build.

For more information about Hyperloop One, visit the company website at:


Update October 12, 2017 Press Release:

“Hyperloop One has a new ally in our mission to reinvent transportation, and it’s someone who’s changed the industry a few times already in his career. Today we’re announcing that legendary entrepreneur Richard Branson and his Virgin Group have invested in Hyperloop One. Richard is also joining Hyperloop One’s Board of Directors, bringing along a proven track record of delivering breakthrough transportation experiences.

The Virgin Group and Hyperloop One will be developing a global strategic partnership focused on passenger and mixed-use cargo service. As part of the partnership, our company’s name will be changing to Virgin Hyperloop One over the coming months. Working together, Virgin and Hyperloop One present a differentiated brand that’s instantly recognizable around the world and lends tremendous credibility as we scale. Our global strategic partnership will focus on passenger and mixed-use cargo service, in addition to the creation of a new passenger division. Virgin will not be the only operator. We will work with a variety of operators globally, as selected by customers.

A partnership with Hyperloop One feels like a natural fit. Virgin has been at the forefront of transportation innovation for more than 20 years. It has entered major markets, competed with giants and won. We can’t think of a better person than Richard or a better brand than Virgin to be our true partner in the continued quest to make our moonshot idea a reality.


NEVA blog by Stan Hanel, Outreach Coordinator

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