Canada could soon get the vacuum tube train that travels at dizzying speed. The proposal for the “Fluxjet” capable of speeding up to one thousand kilometers per hour was introduced in Toronto last month by Canadian startup TransPod.
TransPod, the startup that built the world's leading ultra-high-speed ground transportation system (TransPod Line) to disrupt and redefine passenger and cargo transportation, introduced the FluxJet, an industry-defining innovation that changes the way we live, work and travel.
Based on groundbreaking innovations in propulsion and fossil fuel-free clean energy systems, the FluxJet is an all-electric vehicle that effectively hybridizes between an airplane and a train. Offering technological breakthroughs in contactless power transmission and a new field of physics called pitch flux, the FluxJet travels over 1000 km/h in a shielded sled – faster than a jet and three times faster than a high-speed train.
FluxJet will operate exclusively on the TransPod Line, a network system with stations in key locations and major cities and featuring high-frequency departures designed to provide fast, cost-effective and safe travel. Recently, TransPod approved US$550 million in funding and announced the next phase of an $18 billion US infrastructure project to build the TransPod Line to connect the cities of Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. Preliminary construction work has begun, including environmental impact assessment. This critical project will create up to 140.000 jobs and add $19.2 billion to the region's GDP over the course of construction. Once on the TransPod Line, traveling in the aisle will cost passengers about 44 percent less than airfare and reduce CO2 emissions by 636.000 tons per year.
“All the hard work over the past few years has led to this landmark moment where the conversation becomes reality. “The technology is proven and we have confidence that investors, governments and partners will continue to effectively redefine transportation,” said Sebastien Gendron, TransPod co-founder and CEO.
At TransPod's launch event in Toronto, a scaled-down FluxJet was shown in a live demonstration demonstrating its flight capabilities. The nearly 1-tonne FluxJet vehicle demonstrated a takeoff, travel and landing procedure on the pilot path. Event and demo images can be found here.
“This milestone is a big step forward,” said Ryan Janzen, TransPod co-founder and CTO. FluxJet is at the nexus of scientific research, industrial development and massive infrastructure to meet passenger needs and reduce our reliance on fossil fuel-heavy jets and highways. ”
“TransPod is completely changing the game with ultra-high-speed, zero-emission passenger travel and freight transport between major gateway cities,” said Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS Discovery District. “The time has come for our policymakers, investors and operators to take bold steps to support the commercialization of innovations made in Canada like the TransPod and win in the multi-trillion dollar global innovation economy.”
How will Fluxjet work?
The company describes the new type of physics-based design of the Fluxjet as the "observation flow". It's similar to Elon Musk's famous "hypercycle" idea, where electric 'pods' travel at great speed between two pressure tubes.
The pods are held up by magnets and some type of electric motor current. The absence of aerodynamic drag is thought to allow for excessive acceleration, at least as a hypothesis.
It sounds like a sci-fi novel, and whether it becomes reality depends on the development of this extremely new technology.
At the launch event, TransPod demonstrated that this is possible via the scaled-down prototype. The one tonne train took off on the sledge, traveled and landed.
“The technology has been proven and we trust that investors, government and partners will continue to drive it forward to effectively redefine transportation,” said Sebastien Gendron, TransPod Chairman.
Investors have so far offered 550 million euros for the project.
Where can Fluxjet be operated and how much does it cost?
Canada's rail system is already inefficient and outdated. None of the trains are at high speed and only a very small part of the network is electrified.
If Fluxjet works, it could completely change the situation in this country. The company plans to build a network of tubing by setting up stations in major cities across Canada.
Each tube will be able to carry 54 passengers and 10 tons of cargo. The company claims that tickets will also be 44 percent less than airfares.
The project is currently in the research and development phase and will be facing the land in the next phase. The planned first leg of travel envisions transporting passengers between the cities of Calgary and Edmonton. This distance of 300 kilometers takes about three hours by car. If the vacuum tube train is activated, this time will be reduced to 45 minutes.
The company claims it will cut traffic by a third on the highway connecting Calgary to Edmonton in the first phase, but the basis for this prediction is not clear yet.