Transporting us into the future, Nick Earle joins us to talk hyperloop

A hotly debated topic, we’re very excited to hear more from Nick Earle on hyperloop and how it could revolutionise transportation as we know it. So, as we inch towards the big day, we caught up with Nick in our blog.

A well-recognised face in the future technology and transport scene, Nick Earle leads Virgin Hyperloop One’s Global Field Operations. Nick spent 30-years in the high-tech industry and led two transformation programmes for $50 billion IT giants before applying his skills at leading change management to the transportation industry. Today, he leads sales and customer activities for the first new mode of mass transportation in over a century. When he’s not out to change transportation, you can find him in his garden in Surrey in pursuit of his passion to grow the perfect carrot (which, we may add, he has yet to achieve).

Nick Earle

– Photograph by Tim Bishop/

What is your idea worth doing?

Transportation networks are full to the point of overflowing. Transportation delays eat away at productivity and cost billions if not trillions of dollars/pounds in costs globally in lost time and fuel costs. It also consumes 60% of global oil consumption and 27% of all energy use.

This problem is not getting smaller, it’s growing exponentially. In the past two centuries, the train and airplane helped support the growth and prosperity of societies around the globe. This century needs a new form of transport. One that is ultra-fast, on-demand, direct, and efficient. This new form of transport is the hyperloop. Hyperloop can help collapse the barriers of distance and time. In a hyperloop, pods sized for passengers or cargo gradually accelerate beyond airplane speed using electric propulsion. The pods travel inside a low-pressure tube to eliminate aerodynamic drag and lift off the track using magnetic levitation to eliminate surface friction. As a result, hyperloop pods can operate at speeds of up to 1,000 kilometers per hour, gliding quietly for miles with little energy required once they reach cruising speed. Unlike a train or a plane, a hyperloop system is on-demand. Passengers can leave when they want, with multiple departures per minute. A hyperloop network will be designed so there are no stops along the way. Best yet, hyperloop systems to be inherently safer, more reliable, and efficient than other modes of high-speed transport. It is all-electric energy and has zero direct emissions.

Put simply, I believe hyperloop represents a transportation solution for the next 100 years and beyond.

How did you come up with your idea?

Hyperloop was an idea that was published in a white paper by Elon Musk in 2013. Busy with SpaceX, Tesla, and other priorities he decided to open source the hyperloop idea to the industry and my company, Virgin Hyperloop One, was born. We are comprised of a 300-strong, diverse mix of aerospace, civil, mechanical, aerodynamic, software, and electrical engineers as well as sales, marketing, finance, and legal teams working to introduce hyperloop to the world. We’ve constructed the first full-scale, full-systems hyperloop test site in the desert of Nevada and in just 500 meters enabled our pods to reach a record-setting 387 kmph in December 2017.

How is your idea going to change the way we look at the world?

Transportation infrastructure impacts every person, every business, and every economy on the world. With greater speeds, a more seamless on-demand, direct experience, and greater efficiency than other modes of high-speed transportation, hyperloop can have a dramatic impact upon the world.

It will move people faster and improve the way people live, work and play. It will unite communities in unprecedented ways and create highly competitive mega-regions capable of spurring innovation, business expansion, and job growth. It will streamline the movement of goods, enabling on-demand supply chain and a tighter economy.

Finally, hyperloop will also help reduce crushing congestion and emissions creating cleaner, more livable cities and support a healthier planet.

Who has inspired you in your field of work?

I spent 30-years working in advancements in technology. As big as the Internet revolution was and continues to be, it was largely limited to the digital world. The daily grind of commuting and travel hasn’t changed much. Given increased demand it has often gotten worse.

The lessons learned in working in the high-tech industry have inspired me to think differently about transportation. Digital advancements including artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, hardware advancements, and big data are giving way to a new era of personal transportation and enabling us to create the hyperloop. I am excited to bring the lessons I’ve learned in high-tech to transportation and help usher in the next generation of transportation.

It’s now only a few weeks from TEDxGlasgow 2018, where Nick and our 19 other TEDxGlasgow 2018 speakers will come together to explore the theme Rethink… and enjoy an incredibly diverse mix of topics, inspiration and innovation.

Tickets are selling fast, so make sure you gets yours here before it’s too late.

  • Written by Cat Leaver
  • Posted on May, 12 2018

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