This new Hyperloop pod could get you from L.A. to San Francisco in 30 minutes

A visitor to the Marin Headlands reacts while looking out over the Golden Gate Bridge and skyline of San Francisco, as a large cloud gathers over the city, December 12, 2014. A major storm pummeled California and the Pacific Northwest with heavy rain and high winds on Thursday, killing one man, knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes, disrupting flights and prompting schools to close. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, or HTT, is one of several companies seeking to build the world's first hyperloop. Image: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT TRAVEL CITYSCAPE) - GM1EACD0L9901

Stephen Johnson
Contributing Writer, Big Think
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Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, one of several companies racing to build the world's first hyperloop, unveiled a prototype of a full-scale passenger capsule recently in Spain.

 HTT's new passenger pod can carry about 30 to 40 people, and the company plans to test it at a track in France.
Image: HTT

Dubbed the Quintero One, the sleek passenger pod measures 105 feet long, weighs about five tons and is capable of carrying between 28 and 40 people at a time. It's been described as an airplane without wings, an apt description considering the pods would levitate above a magnetic track in a tube that's virtually free of friction, a technique called electromagnetic propulsion. This would allow each pod to travel at speeds exceeding 700 mph, fast enough to travel the 380 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about 30 minutes.

 Artist rendering of a passenger capsule on track.
Image: HTT

HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn hopes to have a full-scale hyperloop running in a few years.

"In three years, you and me, we can take a hyperloop," he told CNBC, adding that widespread implementation of hyperloop systems could occur within five to 10 years. "It's definitely much sooner than anybody would expect," Ahlborn said.

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Based in California, HTT has said it wants to be the first company to build a hyperloop in the U.S. In February, the company published a video teasing the possibility of building a hyperloop that would connect Cleveland to Chicago, though Ohio officials said they'll need to complete a months-long feasibility test before HTT could potentially pursue the plans.

Artist rendering of a hyperloop station.
Image: HTT

HTT plans to test Quintero One at a track in Toulouse, France. The company has already signed agreements with China, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates to build full-scale hyperloops in the coming years.

In addition to HTT, two other companies are vying to build the first full-scale hyperloop in the U.S.: Richard Branson's Virgin Hyperloop One, which he hopes to have ready within three years; and Elon Musk's Boring Company, which recently began building a prototype of a tunnel system that could someday connect residential garages to a hyperloop.

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