``The claim that the hyperloop would be self-powering was always something of a fudge, counting on miles of track-mounted solar panels to provide a steady power source. But the broader idea was new and compelling: creating a closed system with as little friction as possible, and a strong, self-sustaining current in a single direction. That idea isn't present in the current generation of hyperloops, and it's genuinely unclear whether it will ever reappear. Without it, the hyperloop takes a small but significant step toward just being a lighter maglev. It also makes it more difficult to get up to speed, which brings us to an even bigger problem...''

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