Hyperloop One announced the opening of its first manufacturing plant on Wednesday. The manufacturing facility called Metalworks is a 105,000 square-foot building in North Las Vegas. The facility will be the home to many of the company’s 170 employees, including welders, machinists and engineers who will be building and testing components for the DevLoop, which is scheduled for testing in 2017. DevLoop is a full-system prototype of the Hyperloop.
How will Metalworks help?
Hyperloop One’s manufacturing plant will house the company’s new propulsion lab and be used to address the practical engineering challenges facing the technology. At the plant, employees will work on building and designing supporting columns, cradles and the joints to keep everything held tightly together.
In a statement, Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd said, “The Hyperloop One Metalworks tooling and fabrication plant provides Hyperloop One with an incredible facility that will allow us to build and develop DevLoop by early 2017.”
Hyperloop uses in a tube-contained and tightly controlled environment to enhance speed by eliminating factors such as air resistance and friction. If successful, the technology could make it possible to travel between Stockholm and Helsinki – a distance of about 300 miles — in just half an hour. By next year thanks to this new plant, Hyperloop One plans to ready the working prototype of the Hyperloop.
Hyperloop One – in the midst of drama
The announcement of the manufacturing facility comes at an interesting time: when Hyperloop One is still in the midst of drama. In July, BamBrogan, the ousted co-founder, filed a lawsuit alleging harassment and a death threat against Ashfin Pishevar, the head of legal and brother of co-founder Shervin Pishevar. In response, the company filed a countersuit accusing Brogan of creating internal strife and attempting a “coup” to gain control of the company
Nevertheless, the plans for the manufacturing facility are advancing, and management has high hopes from the project.
“Hyperloop One Metalworks is the first Hyperloop manufacturing plant in the world,” says Josh Giegel, co-founder and president of engineering. “The ability to have a world-class machine shop in-house gives us an advantage to build rapidly and develop the Hyperloop in real-time.”
Rising stature of North Las Vegas
The announcement of Hyperloop One’s first manufacturing plant also enhances the credentials of North Las Vegas, which is increasingly becoming a hub for transportation firms. The region has also been able to get an investment from Faraday Future, which will construct its electric supercar factory here. Nevada has emerged as a key battleground for transport businesses as Tesla’s Gigafactory is already being developed outside Reno.
Hyperloop One rebranded from Hyperloop Technologies earlier this year and raised $80 million. The Los Angeles-based company was co-founded by Shervin Pishevar, a venture capitalist and an early investor in Uber. The company selected Nevada for its open-air track to test the system in December. In May after the successful open-air test at its Apex industrial park project site, the company decided to expand to 50 to 65 Nevada employees.