Hyperloop Technologies will soon be testing a propulsion system it predicts will be able to bring a hunk of metal from 0 to 540kmph in two seconds.
By "hunk of metal", I mean exactly that. Hyperloop isn't putting a carriage on the track yet — it's just attaching a base with the necessary elements for propulsion, and seeing how fast it can go. Even though the whole system depends on minimal friction and low air pressure, adding weight to it will still add additional challenges and make it slower.
As wired states, at regular intervals throughout the track there will be magnetic forces constantly giving the carriage little shoves to keep its speed up. Next month's test in Las Vegas will test the limits of how much power they can dump into the system at once.
Some of the 400 people working on the project still aren't 100% convinced it will be seen through to completion, and many of these experts are involved in their spare time for stock options. But it's looking more and more serious all the time, and we'll know next month if it has passed another milestone.
It's not important that the project actually hit 540kmph in two seconds, of course. Riding that train wouldn't be a pleasant experience. The test is just to see what the system is capable of.
Very fast trains are damn cool, though. Hey, we should totally get our own one of those.