Conceived by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, the Hyperloop is an incredibly futuristic transportation system that could potentially function at the speed of sound. To bring the concept to life, Hyperloop Technologies, one of the several companies currently working on the idea, has revealed plans to begin testing its innovative propulsion technology in Nevada next month, with the goal of attaining speeds of nearly 700 mph (around 1,126 km/h) by the end of next year.
In a 57-page presentation, held in August, 2013, Elon Musk first talked about the Hyperloop, a high speed transport concept that could potentially carry passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than 30 minutes. The system is based on the use of near-vacuum tubes to propel pods, levitated with the help of magnets and containing people or cargo, at nearly the speed of sound. To test such a system, Hyperloop Technologies has chosen Nevada’s Apex Industrial Park as its first test location. Steve Hill, the Director of the Governer’s Office of Economoic Development in Nevada, said:
Hyperloop Tech is a cutting-edge company focused on changing the way the world views transportation, and we could not be more excited about the role the state of Nevada is going to play in this first phase of testing.
Named Propulsion Open Air Test, the initial trial aims to send a specially-designed electric motor over a distance of 1 km at an impressive speed of around 540 km/h (or 335mph). Additionally, the company will be testing some of the latest advancements in thermodynamics, propulsion, levitation technology, tube and pod designs, systems engineering and so on. It is also in the process of selecting a test site, with a 3 km-long track, for a fully-developed and fully-functional Hyperloop system. In a recent press release, Rob Lloyd, the head of Hyperloop Technologies, said:
This decision represents another major milestone in our journey to bring Hyperloop to commercial reality… This will be over 2 miles of tube with a controlled environment and inside that tube we will levitate a pod and accelerate it to over 700mph. We aim to achieve this in (the fourth quarter of) 2016.
The technology is also being tested by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which is currently building a one-mile-long track in California. Back in August, another company, called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, announced plans to construct a five-mile test track in Los Angeles, as part of a $100 million to $150 million project.