The world's first full-scale passenger Hyperloop capsule is unveiled in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, on October 2 2018. Picture: REUTERS/MARCELO DEL POZO
The world's first full-scale passenger Hyperloop capsule is unveiled in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, on October 2 2018. Picture: REUTERS/MARCELO DEL POZO

Singapore — Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has unveiled its first full-scale passenger capsule, offering the world a peek at the future of travel.

The capsule, 32m long and weighing five tons, was shown in Spain and will be moved to Toulouse, France, for additional assembly before it is used on one of the first commercial tracks, said the California-based startup, known as HyperloopTT.

Named the Quintero One, the product is made almost entirely out of composite material.

Hyperloop is a technology that gained popularity after billionaire Elon Musk touted it in 2013, prompting several companies to join the race to build a high-speed transportation system.

The front of the world’s first full-scale passenger Hyperloop capsule, unveiled in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, on October 2 2018. Picture: REUTERS/MARCELO DEL POZO
The front of the world’s first full-scale passenger Hyperloop capsule, unveiled in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, on October 2 2018. Picture: REUTERS/MARCELO DEL POZO

It envisages moving passengers in capsules at speeds of more than 1,200km/h through low-pressure tubes, in order to reduce friction. The technology will be able to propel trains faster than existing methods such as the Maglev, which uses a levitation technology to lift the train cars above a track to eliminate surface drag.

The Los Angeles area is emerging as a hyperloop centre, home to competitors Arrivo and Virgin Hyperloop One. Musk’s Boring Co also has its base there.

Musk, who also runs Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), first unveiled his idea for a hyperloop — a tube-based system to move people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour — in a 57-page white paper in 2013 because he was disappointed with California’s plans for a high-speed rail system.

In July, HyperloopTT set up a joint venture to build a test system in a mountainous southwest province in China.

Billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One held discussions in India, aiming to offer fares that are cheaper than local airlines.

In February, Branson signed a preliminary agreement in Mumbai for a broad hyperloop framework and mooted a Mumbai-Pune system that would shrink travel time to 25 minutes and save about three hours.

Bloomberg