Hyperloop Technologies plans to build a hyperloop test track for in North Las Vegas—and it wants to start testing early next year.
The AP talked to the California company (which takes its name from Elon Musk’s proposed invention, but isn’t associated with him) about its plans to create a testing ground for the transit technology. The “Propulsion Open Air Test” will take place on 50 acres of land in the Apex Industrial Park.
Hyperloop Technologies’ test will involve sending an electrical motor at more than 300 mph on a half-mile track. Hardware is expected to arrive this month, and testing is projected to begin early next year.
The hyperloop technology aims to use vacuum tubes to transport freight and passengers in pods at speeds up to 750 mph. With little wind resistance, the system could zip people around at the speed of sound and cut the 400-mile ride between Los Angeles and San Francisco down to an hour.
Capsules would float on a thin cushion of air and draw on magnetic attraction and solar power to zoom through a nearly airless tube.
Now, if this news sounds familiar, it might be because a separate company called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is also building a test track slated for 2016, north of LA.
There’s a good-old fashioned race on to build the first ultra-high speed Hyperloop transit system. Musk—who first floated the possibility of building a Hyperloop back in 2013—is, of course planning to build a test track of his own for SpaceX, possibly in Texas. Musk is also running a design competition.
While a hyperspeed vacuum tube transit system is an untested dream, the competition between companies appears to be speeding up grand plans. This doesn’t mean you’ll be able to hop in a vacuum pod for a quick jaunt around Vegas anytime soon. The technology is nowhere near viable for an actual transit infrastructure. Yet this accelerated press to test shows that companies aren’t treating this like a lark.