By: John Kosich
CLEVELAND — While we’ve talked about Hyperloop travel since plans were announced in 2018 to one day connect Cleveland to Chicago in 28 minutes or Cleveland to Pittsburgh in 19, the renderings have always been from the outside. Now for the first time, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, the group behind the Cleveland project, is giving us the inside look.
“This is the interior that we’re building for the first Hyperloop system so a version of this is what you’ll be able to ride for the first Hyperloop between Chicago and Cleveland,” said Robert Miller, HyperloopTT’s chief marketing officer.
The capsules of around 100 feet in length use passive magnetics to levitate in essentially a vacuum tube where they can travel smoothly at speeds of up to 700 miles an hour.
“The ride is completely smooth so you and I could drink a cup of coffee,” said Miller. “It’s spacious. We have this really interesting artificial sunlight technology, artificial skylight where it feels like you’re outside or we can turn it into the night sky. We have speakers embedded in the headrests. It’s personalized, so the seat knows who you are, knows your name if you want it to, where you’re able to pick up on your Netflix show right where you left off at home just flipping open the tablet and by a metric scan.”
“The ideal situation is you moving from one place to the next on your living room sofa right,” said Miller. “So we want to recreate all the comforts of home within a Hyperloop.”
The big boost to their efforts coming this week in the infrastructure package. While there was no direct funding it’s recognized as a future form of transportation, opening it to Federal funding and programs that other forms of transportation can already access.
“It means that Hyperloop is a normal form of transportation like anyone else we can apply for funding to help build during the construction phase,” said Miller. “It also recognizes that sustainable infrastructure is the wave of the future. So it’s a zero emissions transportation system. We’re collecting energy via solar panels so from a sustainability perspective, Hyperloop is not only fast, but it’s extremely sustainable so the Infrastructure bill kind of quantifies that in a sense as well.”
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) thinks it will be of use in other ways as well.
“It’s exciting,” said Portman. “You know the possibility for Hyperloops is for passenger rail but also for freight rail. You can go a lot faster, less friction, so there’s a lot of advantages to it and the new legislation does provide some funding for that kind of innovative transportation technology.”
Testing continues at the company’s test track in France and the Cleveland project remains on track Miller said to possibly be the first of the Hyperloop projects in the country to be built.
The hope is to have Hyperloop in Northeast Ohio by the end of the decade.