The project that could rocket commuters from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes might be built in Europe before becoming a reality in the United States. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), one of two major companies chasing after Elon Musk’s dream, announced plans to explore building a Hyperloop that would connect three European capital cities: Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest.
There are no concrete plans set yet, but Slovakia leaders welcomed the project, saying it would completely change the way people commute in Europe. HTT’s chief operating officer Bibop Gresta said, “Slovakia continues to confirm its position as one of the most forward-thinking countries by embracing innovations like the Hyperloop transportation system.”
The trip from Vienna to Bratislava is 35 miles, and from Bratislava to Budapest is 100 miles. Current transportation routes don’t cut in straight lines, instead making the trips 50 miles and 125 miles respectively. With a Hyperloop, however, commuters could reach Bratislava from Budapest in just eight minutes, and from Budapest in ten.
Like its proposed American projects, the Hyperloop would travel at the speed of sound, about 760 miles per hour. Energy for the system would be generated by solar panels and as the Hyperloop travels in a tube, snow, rain, or any other weather conditions wouldn’t inhibit travel.
HTT is also currently working on a test track for California’s Quay Valley, a proposed solar-powered community. They hope to open there in 2018, and an international team of engineers, architects, and designers are working on the project through the crowdsourced platform JumpStartFund.
So will the Hyperloop arrive in Europe before the United States? At this point, it depends on feasibility studies in Slovakia, but wherever it finally is built, HTT has brought the futuristic project one step closer to the present.