35 kilometers: Saudi Arabia gets the longest hyperloop track in the world

Virgin Hyperloop One traditionally has close ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Even the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the startup during a US trip. Obviously, there is also a certain dependence. For the former boss of Hyperloop One, Richard Branson, had to resign from his post because he criticized the Saudi government.

Now the kingdom and the US startup have announced a far-reaching collaboration. For example, a research and development center is to be established in the vicinity of the yet to be built retort city “King Abdullah Economic City”. There will also be a Hyperloop test track with a length of 35 kilometers. It would be by far the longest route worldwide.

The speeds have to more than double

Such a large distance is necessary so that the transport capsule also has enough space to accelerate and decelerate. The previous test track of the company, however, is only about 500 meters long. That’s another reason why you are still far from the desired speeds. While the Hyperloop should later enable travel speeds of more than 1,000 kilometers per hour, the current best value of the company Virgin Hyperloop One is only 487 km / h.

However, this is by no means a bad value in the industry comparison. The current world record is 463 kilometers per hour – set up by students of the TU Munich in the context of the “SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition”. On the track in Saudi Arabia, significantly higher speeds are expected in the future.

The Hyperloop should become the catalyst for the region

The “King Abdullah Economic City” is located on the Red Sea about 100 km north of the port city Jeddah. The retort city will later accommodate two million people and help make the Saudi economy less dependent on oil production. In addition to the development of Hyperloop, the areas of software development, manufacturing industry and high-tech research should also be promoted there. However, Virgin Hyperloop One is not the only company that wants to realize the vision of a hyperloop.

Major competitors include Hyperloop Transportation Technologies of the United States and Startup Hardt of the Netherlands. Both companies build or operate their own test tracks. But these are much shorter than the now planned in Saudi Arabia version.

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