German students hit 201 mph in SpaceX hyperloop contest, beating out School of Mines team, others

A student team from Germany demonstrated an experimental hyperloop vehicle on Sunday that topped 200 miles an hour — faster than a capsule built by a venture-backed startup.

The feat occurred during a contest sponsored by Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to build a futuristic mode of transportation known as the hyperloop. A team from the Colorado School of Mines made it to the Los Angeles finals but didn’t win. The winning team, comprised of students from the Technical University of Munich, raced a “pod” that hit a peak speed of 201 miles an hour on a nearly one-mile track.

“Two hundred miles per hour for a student-built pod is incredible,” Musk said after announcing the results to a crowd gathered by the track outside SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

In a 2013 white paper, Musk called for a hyperloop transportation system using a train-like capsule that floats on air and travels at airplane speeds through a low-pressure tube. Sunday’s test was far below the more than 700 miles per hour Musk originally proposed but well over speeds in a previous student contest in January.

It also topped the 192 miles per hour reported after a June test by Hyperloop One, a Los Angeles-based commercial company. Hyperloop One was using a much shorter track of about one-third of a mile and was building to commercial standards, including using a much larger vehicle.