Power boost for winning Hyperloop design

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The winning prototype Hyperloop pod reached 463.5 km/h, over 200 km/h faster than the one that came in second. This would shorten the trip from Munich to Hamburg to about one hour and 15 minutes, for example. 

“Four wins in a row in the Hyperloop Competition underscore the enormous technological expertise of the students,” said Hans Adlkofer, Vice President Automotive Systems at Infineon. “They also highlight the major role that precise and robust electronics will play in the future of mobility. We are excited for the TUM Hyperloop team and congratulate it on its fascinating success.” Infineon sponsored the TUM team and supplied key components. In addition, the students gave the pod electronics the final touch at Infineon’s El Segundo location near Los Angeles.

The pod’s eight electric motors are controlled by 288 power semiconductors from Infineon. These chips control the flow of current into the motor with thousands of switching processes per second. This creates the rapidly changing magnetic fields that drive the motor. In addition, 24 sensors from Infineon deliver information about the rotor position in the motors. This data is required for precise timing of the switching processes.

As well as in the drive, the TUM Hyperloop also uses 112 power components from Infineon in the main battery switches. With their help, the flow of current from the battery can be switched off in a fraction of a second. This is required, for example, for maintenance work or in case of accidents, to protect people from electric shocks.

The TUM Hyperloop team – previously known as WARR Hyperloop – presented the fastest pod in each of the four annual competitions. This year, it beat a total of 20 other teams from the U.S., Asia, Australia, and Europe. For the final run, three other teams qualified: Delft Hyperloop from Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), EPFLoop from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) and Swissloop from ETH Zurich (Switzerland).

Hyperloop journey times:

At speeds of 463.5 km/h, the 877km between the Federal Chancellery in Berlin and the Elysée Palace in Paris would take  just one hour and 54 minutes while  a trip from Silicon Valley to Wall Street would take less than nine hours: The 4,130 kilometers between San Francisco and New York would take eight hours and 55 minutes with the pod. 

Beijing to Shanghai would take little over two hours to travel the almost 1,070 kilometers between China’s largest cities. At present, the trip takes almost five hours – admittedly with intermediate stops.

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