It only lasted about two seconds, but wow, what a sort of thrilling two seconds it was! Hyperloop One, the LA-based startup striving to realize Elon Musk's pipe dream, conducted its first public open-air test in the Nevada desert Wednesday.
A crowd of wealthy investors, transportation experts, media, and even North Las Vegas Mayor John Jay Lee, watched as a roughly 10-foot long sled shot down a short train track and then crashed into a pile of sand. It was an inauspicious way to kick off what's supposed to be a global revolution in transportation.
Before the demonstration, Hyperloop One's top executives made bold proclamations about the future of their industry, and even quoted Teddy Roosevelt, part of which notes that if a great man fails, "at least fails while daring greatly." It was a telling quote, given the high level of skepticism surrounding the Hyperloop. Most experts believe that while the system will be invented and tested in the US, the first working Hyperloop will likely be built abroad.
Afterward, I asked the company's co-founder Shervin Pishevar if he thought it was rude to note that the test didn't look like much. "No, I think you have to understand that is a completely new propulsion system," he said, laughing. "We'll get 350 miles per hour as soon as we complete that [track]. This was to show everyone we're actually building this. This is real."