the World in Two HoursCircumnavigate the globe in two hours might sound like science fiction, but work on vehicles capable of tube-travel is already underway.

Acabion, a Swiss company led by former Porsche, BMW and Ferrari engineer Peter Maskus, is building vehicles it claims will be the “certified successor of cars.”
They’re “streamliners” — upgraded land-speed racers that look like motorcycles wrapped in fighter jets, and Maskus hopes to have them in the hands of consumers by 2015.

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The vacuum tubes won’t be around during our lifetime, but cars built in this decade could lay the groundwork for a future transportation infrastructure.
The company is working on the GTBO VIII “da Vinci,” a $15 million fully electric vehicle with a top speed of 375 mph that Acabion claims is 20 times more efficient than current EVs. It’s as much a work of art as a proof of concept: Maskus says that for production vehicles, the price will come down “by reducing the overall exclusivity and by reducing the power from our today’s top-of-the-line 700 horsepower or 800 horsepower to standard regions, and of course by mass production.”
Elevated tracks over highways would be automated, much like high-speed rail but with individual cars. And when the elevated highways end, Acabion users can still drive on existing roads.

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Next up is a network of intercontinental vacuum tubes — a “traffic internet” — that probably sounds as far-fetched today as an undersea telegraph cable did in the 1850s.
“Two tubes between New York and Paris, 1.5 meters in diameter each, maglev driven and fully automatic controlled, will move three times more people between America and Europe than all airplanes do today,” Maskus said.
Once the traffic internet is up and running, current Acabions will be fully capable of entering vacuum tubes that would propel the vehicles quickly enough for drivers to commute daily between Paris and New York.
For starters, the Acabion GTBO borrows an engine from the Suzuki Hayabusa, has a top speed of 340 mph, can get 100 mpg at 100 mph and has a $2.5 million price tag to match. “It is so comfortable that people would buy it even if the Acabion would just stand in the garage. Plus, as soon as you move it, you have the enormous effectiveness, whatever road you use.”

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via wired