Just two years ago, Elon Musk proposed a new 700mph mass transit solution called the Hyperloop, and now it has taken a big step closer to becoming a reality. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a company inspired by Musk’s idea has just signed a deal to build a five mile test track in central California. The track will be built at a cost of $100 million, and is expected to be operational in 2019.

hyperloop, hyperloop transportation technologies, test track, california, fifth mode, mass transit

The Hyperloop is a concept for a self-powering ‘fifth mode’ of transportation, which would propel commuters through tubes while sitting comfortably in posts of around 20-30 people. With a predicted stop speed of 760mph, it could ferry riders from downtown LA to San Francisco in just 30 minutes, and for a fraction of the cost—and economic impact—of air travel.

Musk made the concept for the Hyperloop public, citing that his commitments to Space X and Tesla rendered him unable to commit his time to the project. He’s since backtracked somewhat, and is planning his own test track in Texas, but other companies have formed to take up the challenge. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is one such company. Speaking to NBC, Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of the JumpStartFund, which created Hyperloop Transportation Technologies explained “This is big step… It’s time to take the Hyperloop from concept and design and build the first one.”

HTT has secured a stretch of the Quay Valley adjacent to California’s Interstate 5 freeway, and construction is set to begin next year. The test track will be a full scale model, appropriate for carrying human passengers—however due to it’s relatively short length, the pods will only be able to reach a top speed of around 200mph. But, for this test, Ahlborn told the Verge, “It’s not about speed, there are a lot of other things that need to be optimized.”

The full version of the Hyperloop is expected to cost between $7 and $16 billion, but HTT still has some work to do if it is to raise the $100 million needed for the test track. According to the Verge “Ahlborn is planning an IPO under an open auction model — a bold move for a company with no revenue stream as yet. Still, Ahlborn seems undeterred: “For us, the most important thing is going out and putting the product into the market.”

And if HTT succeeds, we could see a working, full scale prototype of the Hyperloop in just four years time.

+ Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

Via The Verge