Hyperloop One, Elon Musk’s attempt at futuristic transportation, is officially shutting down, marking the end of a project that aimed to revolutionize travel with high-speed pods.
Electrek reports that Hyperloop One, envisioned as a high-speed transportation solution, promised to whisk passengers and cargo at speeds comparable to jets between cities in vacuum-sealed tubes. This ambitious project, originating from Elon Musk’s 2013 “alpha paper,” captivated imaginations with the prospect of travel at speeds of 760 mph, theoretically reducing the travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco, or New York and DC, to just 30 minutes.
Despite early excitement, the project faced significant skepticism from scientists and engineers, who questioned its practicality. Nonetheless, the idea was compelling enough to attract substantial investment, including a substantial injection of $350 million from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and DP World, a Dubai-based port logistics firm, in 2017. However, the venture struggled to manage its finances effectively, burning through these investments rapidly with little to show for it.
The company’s journey was further marred by controversy after company cofounder Shervin Pishevar resigned following allegations of sexual misconduct. Tensions with Saudi Arabia, exacerbated by Richard Branson’s criticism following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, resulted in the withdrawal of Saudi investment and Branson stepping down as chair.
The first and only human passenger test in 2020 ended in disappointment, achieving a top speed of only 100 mph, far below the projected speeds. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic worsened the company’s struggles, leading to a significant reduction in staff and a pivot from passenger to cargo transportation in 2022. However, this shift could not salvage the company, and it was announced that DP World would sell off Hyperloop One’s intellectual property rights and assets, including a test track outside Las Vegas.
Read more at Electrek here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.