Apr 17, 2020 - Economy & Business

A commercial hyperloop is still at least 20 years in the future

Photo: Virgin Hyperloop One

A new research report says a hyperloop, the high-speed travel concept, is at least 20 years away from commercialization.

The big picture: Climate change has fueled interest in finding low-carbon alternatives to conventional rail and air travel. An electric hyperloop is one solution, because it operates in a vacuum system that reduces aerodynamic drag, enabling higher speeds and greater energy efficiency.

  • Passengers would ride in levitating pods inside a narrow tube at speeds well above 500 mph.
  • Virgin Hyperloop One explains the technology in this video.

Yes, but: A new report from Lux Research says while the concept is technically feasible, it will require significant development to become cost-effective.

  • "Despite the considerable amount of hype and attention hyperloop has received and the potentially important role it could play in decarbonizing long-range transit, the concept remains more or less unproven, and serious questions remain about its economic feasibility," says Lux Research Senior Analyst Christopher Robinson.

The bottom line, via Lux Research: the first passenger-carrying high-speed hyperloop systems won't begin operation before 2040 at the earliest.

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Trump's week of viral quicksand

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Stories about President Trump's photo op at St. John's church after peaceful protesters were forcefully cleared from the area averaged the most online attention of any issue about the president this week.

Why it matters: Trump's force-over-compassion approach to the demonstrators protesting the murder of George Floyd had Republican allies backpedaling to keep a distance — and led to a wave of condemnations that got plenty of online traction on their own.

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
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