The first full-scale Hyperloop test track could be ready for trial runs as early as next year and it won't be in Texas. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Elon Musk over the years, it’s that once he sets his mind to something, he wastes little time making it happen.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT for short) has acquired rights to 7,500 acres of land in California’s Quay Valley (a planned community) in order to build a five-mile test track. Construction of the project will be funded from money the company expects to take in through a public offering during the third quarter of this year.
HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn doesn’t like to call the project a test track. As Wired notes, this really isn’t a proof of concept or a scale model; it will apparently be open to the public at some point in which potential riders will be able to buy a ticket and go for a spin.
To reiterate, this is just a five-mile stretch of tube – far from the 400-mile version that Musk eventually wants to build to connect northern and southern California in just half an hour. As such, the shortened version won’t come close to the promised 800 mph speeds of the final Hyperloop as you need about 100 miles of track to reach such speeds.
Top speed runs won’t be a key metric with the first iteration. Instead, the HTT team wants to tweak practical elements of the setup such as boarding procedures and pod design.
Either way, it’s exciting to see the Hyperloop project move one step closer to reality and with any luck, it could seriously change the way we look at long-distance travel.