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Shanghai Tower elevator to climb at 40 mph

Mitsubishi Electric says its new technology will allow elevators in the Shanghai Tower, under construction, to travel some 40 mph.

The 128-story, 632-meter Shangai Tower, at right, is going up by the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center. Gensler

How fast can you go up? Mitsubishi Electric recently unveiled technologies for new high-speed elevators that will climb at a vertiginous rate of roughly 40 mph when they enter service in China.

The elevators will be installed in the 632-meter (2,073-foot) Shanghai Tower, which is being erected in Shanghai's Pudong area.

Designed by U.S. architectural firm Gensler, the 128-story skyscraper will be the tallest structure in China when complete and second only in the world to Dubai's Burj Khalifa.

The elevators could travel as fast as 1,080 meters, or 3,543 feet, per minute--roughly 40.2 mph.

Each motor in the elevators has a built-in converter that regenerates electricity. This reduces the elevator's power consumption by more than 30 percent, according to Mitsubishi.

The safety gear, which grasps the elevator rails if there's a cable problem, is made of ceramic material that can withstand high heat and friction. The gear itself consists of two stages to better handle the kinetic energy from high speeds.

Within the shaft, the aerodynamic elevator cars will be hauled by Mitsubishi's new Sflex-rope, which is made of high-intensity steel wire strands that are wrapped in plastic.

Passengers will feel few vibrations as the cars travel at high speeds because active roller guides reduce shaking. Sound insulation cages around the cars ensure they are extra quiet.

And that popping you get in your ears? An air pressure control system will help minimize rapid changes so you won't have to swallow every few seconds.

Sounds like it'll be a heck of a ride. The Shanghai Tower is scheduled to open in 2014, and you can follow construction progress here.