HYPERLOOP: Is this the future of traveling?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where brilliant minds explore, innovate and create something exceptional is what our article is going to take us through. Historic innovations, latest technology legendary things have happened here.

The MIT team is one of the several ones working on the future of traveling. Yes, I am talking about the Hyperloop, a vision for insanely rapid travel put forth by Silicon Valley’s most interesting and one of the most successful men, Elon Musk.

We know the Tesla man in the automobile world but he is the driving force of Hyperloop. The commute from San Francisco to Los Angeles that is currently a few minutes shy of 5 hours or approximately an hour’s journey by flight could be cut to just 30 minutes.

Yes, Hyperloop is definitely the future of travel.

So,What is Hyperloop?

Hyperloop is a conceptual transport system in which passengers are loaded into pods and fired through vacuum tubes at more than 600mph (1,000km/h). This sounds more like something you’d see right off some sci-fi movie or a spy movie. However, prototype pods have already been tested and a running along magnetic tracks much like the maglev trains that are currently used in countries such as Japan.

Air pumped out of the tubes reduces resistance that allows high speeds to be achieved. This potentially used less energy than a normal train.

This breakthrough idea could most certainly reduce journey times over long distances. That being said, there is more to it than meets the eye and the eye looks at various challenges before the idea becomes reality.

Mr Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX published a white paper outlining a way to use airtight tubes to propel pods at speeds of up to 1130 km/h, he set a challenge to anyone and everyone who wanted to build the technology.

There’s a small twist to it. Mr Elon is not paying the firms. However, he has committed to funding a series of tests. His target is set to the year 2021 where humans would travel on Hyperloops around the world. The MIT team is one of more than 20 non-commercial groups also designing a Hyperloop pod – with money coming from SpaceX in the form of a competition.

Phases:

The project was split over 2 phases. A design contest that MIT, had won in January and an on-track test, which is coming up in summer. This might either be it or it could also be a colossal waste of time. The barriers to Hyperloop becoming a reality are enormous.

How does Hyperloop work?

With all that’s said, the obvious question arises. How does Hyperloop work?

Air Bearings or Maglev:

FRICTION!!!

That’s one of the major problems that anything that moves faces. Friction against surfaces and the environment. But, Hyperloop proposes to move away from traditional wheels by using air bearings for pods instead. This will have the pod floating on air. This concept is similar to maglev in which the electromagnetic levitation of the train means that there is no friction like a traditional train that runs on tracks.

  • Fun Fact: The Maglev can achieve speeds up to 500 km/h in Japan.

There is another proposal from Hyperloop Transportation Technologies that uses passive magnetic levitation. This means magnets are on the trains and work with aluminum tracks. Current active maglev needs powered tracks with copper coiling, which can be expensive. Hyperloop will take this technology to another level and would take traveling through low-pressure tubes.

The Hyperloop is built in tunnels that have had some of the air sucked out to lower the pressure. So, like high altitude flying, there’s less resistance against the pod moving through the tunnel, meaning it can be much more energy efficient, something that’s highly desirable in any transit system.

The air bearing and passive maglev ideas are designed not only to levitate the pod, but also see the pod moving through the air, rather than pushing the air in front of it and dragging it along behind. The air cushion will see the air pumped from the front of the pod to the rear via these suspension cushions.

The tunnels envisioned are metal tubes, elevated as an over ground system. Musk has suggested that solar panels running on the top of the tunnels could generate enough electricity to power the system. It could also run as an underground system too.

 

Proposed speeds:

Hyperloop is being proposed as an alternative to short distance air travel where the system will be much faster than existing rail networks and much cleaner than flights.

Speeds of over 700mph are suggested for journeys, but there are practical implications that have to be considered on a short stop-start journey, such as the acceleration and deceleration sensation that passengers would go through.

Hyperloop in Action:

Currently, Elon Musk has barely announced much about the Hyperloop. There is going to be a 1-mile track built by SpaceX adjacent to Hawthorne, its California headquarters. The plan is to have a competition for students with their various pod designs in the summer of 2016.

The planning documents that have already been shown off planned a route between LA and San Francisco, a 354-mile journey, which would cost around $6 billion in construction. This is based on a passenger-only model whereas one that can also transport vehicles too would be $7.5 billion. This extra expenditure would be worth it since more people could use the system, offering potentially larger returns.

How much will Hyperloop cost to a layman?

According to Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Dirk Ahlborn the cost of a ticket should be around $30 mark to get a passenger from LA to San Francisco. That, he says, should allow the company to pay back its initial costs in eight years. Weather this will actually be the final price of a ticket remains to be seen. To my opinion, you’ve got to have some deep pockets in order to commute on Hyperloop. But, its totally understandable that the company needs to achieve its ROI at the earliest.

Bottom Line:

Innovation is exciting. You’d definitely want to travel once in a life time on the Hyperloop if not commute.

Sweden’s Zbee Helps India

Zbee car

Clean Motion, a Swedish company has launched its advanced electric commercial vehicle, ‘Zbee’ in India.

The Zbee looks pretty much like a rickshaw. However, this 3-wheeled electronic ride is here for a major transportation and economical change.

Zbee India

Zbee is already running successfully across Europe and Indonesia, and would be used as last mile connectivity in the CyberHub area of Gurgaon as an active toll of green vehicles in the first phase. Post its launch on February 10, the company flagged off its commercial operation. As part of a cluster, 25 Zbees will provide last-mile connectivity from the CyberHub to nearby offices of DLF Cyber City and later on to the metro stations. The zero-emission Zbee is currently imported as a CKD kit.

Under its pact with DLF, Zbees will function from various retail formats in Delhi-NCR. Homologated by ICAT Manesar and certified by government authorities as an electric vehicle with a registered number plate, about 100 Zbees per month will be locally assembled at Faridabad; local manufacturing is being explored at a later stage. The Zbee is currently sold in Sweden and Indonesia and India will be the third country on its radar.

 

Why is this a fun to drive electric you ask?

Build:

The Zbee is made from a fibre reinforced plastic body, the lightweight EV weighs around 270kg enabling it to strike a balance between its light body structure and safety requirements. The Zbee weighs in just within the 1500 kilogram limit, thereby making it quite nimble.

Energy Efficient:

The perfect vehicle for short distance transportation of up to three people and smaller goods. The vehicle, through its energy efficiency and zero emissions will improve the environment both logically and globally.

Zbee

 

Fun to Drive:

The Zbee is quite a practically built, fun to drive vehicle that lets behind all the efforts and delivers safety. Zbee also offers parking ease, because this vehicle can even be parked inside your home.

Zbee Fun to drive

 

Practical:

Zbee is weather protected, seats three people with ease and features a protected luggage compartment. The parking brake has a lock and protects the vehicle from theft. It’s designed around your actual needs. Since when did you need a vehicle weighing 1500 kg, with a top speed of 200 km/h, just to go shopping?

Zbee Practical

 

Economical:

The battery powering the hi-tech motor charges quickly and needs little service. It costs only about a dime per 10 km of driving. The advanced lithium ion battery allows the Zbee to be driven for up to 50 kilometers. Recharging takes an hour, says Clean Motion. Later a rapid charging device, which enables a recharge within 30 minutes,  will be introduced.

The company claims that three Zbees fit into a single parking lot. Operating cost is 30 percent of the cost of a fossil fuel vehicle. It can seat two passengers and the driver and has a top speed of 45kph. In addition, it comes with a parking brake to prevent theft.

Fossil fuel-run vehicles have contributed significantly in adding to the carbon footprint and emissions in our environment. To combat this, we started developing technology which is lean, clean and safe and can be a potential alternative transport solution. This led to the Zbee,” says Goran Folkesson, CEO of Clean Motion.

Expanding footprints in India:

Clean Motion has so far invested over $1 million (Rs 6.6 crore) in its Indian operations and plans to invest another $10 million (Rs 66 crore) by 2017 for expanding its reach across India. An upcoming IPO to raise a capital of $5 million this April will go towards setting up a manufacturing facility for the Zbee in the vicinity of Faridabad, confirms Folkesson.

The target is to achieve about 70 percent localisation of parts over the next 6-8 months so as to bring down the production cost by 2017. At present the Zbee costs Rs 5 lakh and with indigenisation the product cost is expected to down by 50 percent within a year according to Anil Arora, country head of Clean Motion India.

The Faridabad assembly facility can roll out around 3,000-5,000 units annually and a new modern manufacturing plant is expected to have an annual production capacity of 5,000 units as well. The target is to set up multiple micro factories for producing the Zbee in close proximity to its customers as it expands across the country.

At a rough estimate, each micro factory will require an area of 500-1000 square metres and involve an investment of Rs 4 crore producing 5,000 units annually. Franchisees will be tasked with marketing the Zbee.

It would soon be marketed in Delhi, Noida, Jaipur and other smart cities. The company aims to sell over 1,000 Zbees in India by March 2017.

The company plans to train women drivers for Zbee and would work with Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd and other organizations in this regard. It is expected to be a viable energy-efficient solution to the critical issues of pollution and last-mile connectivity in urban metros.

Besides, the company has entered into an arrangement with DLF to operate Zbees from various retail format in Delhi-NCR. Zbee has a fibre-reinforced plastic body, which is light as well as strong from a safety perspective. It comes with an advances lithium ion battery and a full charge allows it to be driven for up to 50 km.

Clean Motion has invested over $1 million in India so far and would be pumping in $10 million by 2017. Currently, Zbee is being assembled in India at Faridabad and the India team expects to bring down the production cost significantly by 2017.

Meanwhile, environmental body, CSE has said that the high number of diesel vehicles in the recently concluded Auto Expo shows a scary trend of high pollution causing models hitting the market despite 2,000-cc diesel engines being banned in the NCR till March 2016. CSE claimed that as many as 27 per cent of all displayed car/SUV models in Auto Expo were in the bracket of 2,000-cc diesel engines.

 Bottom Line:

We hope to see more Electronic vehicles that serve a better purpose in India soon. Hope you enjoyed the article? Please feel free to share/like/comment.

Eagerly Anticipated Best sports motorcycles of 2015

There are a number of sports motorcycles that are eagerly anticipated in the US market for the year 2015. Here’s a look at some of the best & most exciting ones.

2015 KAWASAKI NINJA H2R
kawasaki ninja h2r: Best sports motorcycles 2015

“Built beyond belief” are the words used by Kawasaki to describe the new 2015 Kawasaki Ninja H2R. The excitement among enthusiasts has aroused drastically after hearing the news of its arrival. The 2015 supercharged Kawasaki Ninja H2R is no ordinary machine. The game-changing Kawasaki has clocked in this super bike at 300HP. This makes the H2R the most powerful bike ever produced in its category. The engine is a 998cc, liquid cooled, inline four cylinder engine boosted with a centrifugal supercharger. The H2R also ensures a high speed stability of upto 320km/hr mark. This is thanks in no small part due to its carbon-fiber upper and lower wings designed by the Engineers of Kawasaki Aerospace division. Kawasaki has put in a great effort of research and synergy for the creation of this Hunky H2R, which the world will get to see it in the flesh soon & will definitely be one of the best sports motorcycles of 2015!

2015 Yamaha FZ-07
yamaha mt 07: Best sports motorcycles of 2015!

Yamaha is all set to redefine the rules of the road with the launch of 2015 Yamaha FZ-07. It will be its own particular monster- agile yet solid, with a snarl in its high-ductile steel . The heart of the 07 is a 689cc parallel twin engine, providing the most linear torque delivery we’ve seen in a Yamaha . At less than 400lbs weight, the FZ-07 is almost as light as a big dual-purpose machine. This Yamaha inherits cross plan concept with its 270 degree wrench trickling down from its M1 GP roots. Also to keep in mind that one should not be tricked by its humble disposition. Its power delivery amounts  of 74HP at 9000 rpm and 50.2 ft-lb torque at 6500rpm. The Yamaha FZ-07 constitutes products which can get the adrenaline gushing in your body only at an opening cost of $6,990 & will for sure be one of the best sports motorcycles of 2015

DUCATI DIAVEL 2015
2015 best sports motorcycle: Ducati diavel

Ducati recently unveiled their latest model 2015 Diavel, which is going to be offered by the company in three versions based on their colour- Carbon Red, Carbon Dark and Carbon White. This iteration implements marginal changes to the appearance, by giving more aggressive look with a generous amount of muscular elegance. However, the real changes are the new engine from the latest generation Testastretta 11° Dual Spark, the exhaust system, and a new package of ABS. Ducati Traction Adjust System and Riding Modules lend the pure Ducati experience for real motorcycle passionist’s. It claims a horsepower rating of 162HP, same as the previous versions. The major upgrade to the bike is the LED headlamp and it also incorporates LED into tail lights giving it a mean streak in the rear.The Testastertta engine constituting two spark plugs in each cylinder leads to better combustion of the fuel. Ducati’s Diavel appears in the market at a price of 17.995$ for Diavel Dark to 20.995$ for Carbon Red and Carbon White. Just looking at this monster of a bike, one can definitely say it will climb up the list of Best sports motorcycles in 2015

 

2015 HONDA CBR300R
Honda cbr300r 2015: Sports motorcycles

The Honda CBR 300R will hit the States in the month of December, as a rival to the Kawasaki Ninja 300. The 2015 CBR300R will be available in retail for $4399, with an ABS version for $4899. The Honda CBR300R will be available in two models: Standard -non-ABS- in Black or Red. Powering it is a 286cc mill producing 30.8PS at 8,500rpm and a torque rating of 27Nm at 7,250rpm.Building on the platform of the CBR250R, a wildly popular quarter liter, for the CBR300R, the highly efficient , single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine has been given an increased stroke to boost the capacity to 286cc. Acceleration is greatly enhanced thanks to this larger capacity and the six-speed gearbox’s final drive ratio has been lengthened for more efficient highway speed cruising.For the inexperienced, it’s a great platform from which to hone riding skills and a lot easier on the pocket in every respect- purchase, fuel, and  insurance. The cost factor gives this automobile an advantage over other sports motorcycles, thus making it one of the best in 2015!

 

2015 Kawasaki KX450F
kawasaki motocross bike 2015 : Best sports motorcycles

Kawasaki advances in the motocross motorcycles with the announcement of new 2015 Kawasaki KX450F 450cc. The biggest news for 2015 is the new Showa SFF-Air TAC (Triple Air Chamber) fork where the right fork acts as a spring and the left does the damping. The front fork carries out three functions: Spring, Damper and Air system . Replacing the SFF-AIR metal spring is an Air Spring Cartridge (internal chamber) in the right fork leg that is set to a pressure of 145psi. The fork on the right also has an outer air chamber that is pressurized to 7 psi and third lower (balance) chamber that gets charged to 130psi. The KX450F also includes a digital air pump, for checking and adjusting air forks with a great deal of accuracy. The Uni-Trak suspension with Showa Shock gets a revised valve code for improved high-speed handling and stability. Kawasaki also claims a decrease in 0.9 pounds compared to 2014 model- hence making it one of the most desired & best sports motorcycles of 2015.

LaMaserati – the stunning Hyper car from Maserati

new maserati supercar

When it comes to creating passion fueled works of art, few automakers compare to the Italians. Although the Maserati marque is unbeknownst to many, the name itself instills an image of majesty and elegance. Adjectives that justly describe the Italian car maker. While Maserati did have a huge fan following back in the early 20th century, the Italian marque’s history is now riddled with financial problems. However, the brand has since stabilized and is slowly regaining some of its lost glory.

ferrari laferrari
Based off the LaFerrari, the LaMaserati Is a Conceptual Visualization of the Next Big Supercar From the Italian Marque’s Stable

Since the first sale of the company back in 1937, Maserati has switched hands multiple times. Currently under Ferrari’s ownership, the Italian car maker has churned out some of its best models till date. Track ready cars such as the Gran Turismo MC Stradale showcased what the guiding light of the oldest team in F1 is capable of. The direct ownership by Ferrari has also given birth to the fastest Maserati till date: the MC12. Developed from one of Ferrari’s greatest, the Enzo, the MC12 showed the world what could possibly be one of the best combinations in automotive history: the engineering prowess of Ferrari and the passione of Maserati.

maserati mc12
The MC12 Was Maserati’s First Serious Attempt at a Supercar

Designer Mark Hostler has now rendered an imagining of what a LaFerrari based hypercar from Maserati would look like. Dubbed the LaMaserati, Hostler’s rendition of the hypothetical hypercar is an exhibition of ardor and beauty that Maserati is famous for. Sadly though, Mark Hostler’s concept is unlikely to ever hit production. The LaMaserati is an unofficial concept and will most likely never be green lit for development. However, that being said, it hasn’t stopped the designer from endowing the concept with some performance stats. The LaMaserati will come with the LaFerrari’s innards save for the F1 style KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). The KERS system is a definitive piece of tech inside the LaFerrari that ushers in an era of hybrid hypercars. However, the LaMaserati goes old school by ditching the system for a lot more conventional petrol fueled horses. The loss of the electric system saves weight and the 6.3 L v12 has been tuned up to develop even more power to ensure the LaMaserati holds its own against the hybrid speed demons of today.

Maserati LaMaserati hypercar
Say Hello To The Maserati LaMaserati

While Ferrari’s LaFerrari evidently draws its design cues from the very pretty 458 Italia, Mark’s design philosophy is a radical departure from Maserati’s current design methodologies. In many ways, the LaMaserati’s development harks back to the MC12. Maserati’s first supercar, the MC12 too showed a stark change in design philosophy to ensure the company’s fastest remained the most distinctive.

Maserati LaMaserati rear
Rear View of the LaFerrari Based Maserati Supercar

The front end greets us with the tantalizing gaze of the hypercar’s LED headlights with the marque’s insignia mounted between the bonnet and the front splitter. Dropping conventional side mounted rear view mirrors, Mr. Hostler has adopted unique roof mounted antennaes. Over to the side, the hunkered down stance of the Maserati cements the notion that this concept is seriously fast. Similar to the Lamborghini Reventon, the new Maserati’s specially designed alloys funnel air into the car to keep the stonking V12 cool. Unlike the MC12, the LaMaserati is a one seater with a pod-like design. Staying true to Maserati heritage, the LaMaserati is a beautiful amalgam of white and blue; the manufacturer’s classic colours.

Maserati LaMaserati headlights
The LaMasearti’s Menacing Gaze Is a Sight to Behold

Over at the back a bit of Ferrari creeps in the form of the tail lamp design. However, the designer has adopted the circular taillight design and given it a bit of flair by integrating them via a longitudinally running strip of LEDs.

new maserati supercar
The LaMaserati Ditches Ferrari’s KERS System To Save Weight

While Mark’s design may never see the light of day, an Enzo based Maserati means there is some credibility in the idea of a LaFerrari based Maser. A stunning display from two of Italy’s finest will truly be a sight to behold. However, until the promised day, Mark’s rendition should keep our dreams preoccupied.

side view of Maserati LaMaserati
Although the Will Never Be Built, The Hyper car Would Be an Impressive Addition To The Italian Marque’s CV