There are multiple reasons why the first Hyperloop test is likely to fall short of its promise. First, infrastructure. For the technology to be viable, any Hyperloop system needs extensive infrastructure – and building that costs a lot of money. Any large-scale implementation of electric cars would face the same obstacle. How difficult this is with charging stations for electric vehicles, but with Hyperloop the cost would be significantly higher. Overground routes could be problematic in urban areas, so would be required to be underground, which further adds to the cost.
Another technological challenge for a full-scale Hyperloop is maintaining the vacuum within the Hyperloop system, as any air leaks will impact the pods’ maximum speed. There would have to be large vacuum pumps positioned periodically throughout the route to maintain the vacuum, and these will need to be powered. But building a hundred or so mile-long vacuum or near-vacuum chamber is almost impossible. A British scientist currently at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry in the Czech Republic – adding that the two core problems are expansion issues on a straight tube and atmospheric pressure.