Urbanloop Electric Capsule Breaks World Record For Lowest Energy Consumption

Urbanloop breaks world record for the lowest energy consumption per kilometer 7 photos
Photo: Urbanloop
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On May 28th, a French futuristic capsule designed by Urbanloop set a new record for the lowest energy consumption for an autonomous vehicle on rails, reaching the incredibly low score of 0.05 kWh. That is the equivalent of about half a cent spent to travel one kilometer at a speed of 52 kph (32 mph).
The capsule took off on a track set up in Tomblaine, on the outskirts of Nancy, France. After completing two loops, the vehicle scored 0.05 kWh, which is a world record for lowest energy consumption per kilometer for a vehilce on rails.

The Urbanloop project was founded in 2017, when three research laboratories and four engineering schools in Nancy joined forced to create an urban public transport system that would decongest the city. A year later, the project took shape in the form of a capsule placed in a tunnel.

The concept is based on a network of rails formed of interconnected loops (hence the name) on which these capsules run propelled by traction motors. Basically, they are a mix between a tram and a subway.

According to Urbanloop, the vehicles will be built in key areas around Nancy, 250 meters (820 ft) apart from each other, and people would be able to travel without interfering with other existing traffic. Depending on the landscape, the tunnels could be built underground, half underground, half above it, or entirely above the ground.

They will have a unidirectional main loop with an uninterrupted flow and will run at a speed of 60 kph (37 kph). In case of emergency, a trap door is located at the rear and can be accessed from inside. The downside for these capsules is that they don’t have much room, as they are designed to only carry one or two passengers.

While the idea of high-speed vehicles that could travel in tunnels is not new, the whole project sounds very similar to Elon Musk’s concept of Hyperloop, a train that is supposed to travel at speeds of 1,080 kph (670 mph). Of course, Urbanloop doesn’t even come close to that speed, but the teams’ focus is not how fast the capsules can go but how fluid the traffic will be.

One thing sure seems to move fast for them. According to the France3 publication, the project was selected by the Secretary of State for Transport to be showcased at the 2024 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Paris.

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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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