Construction On Hyperloop Test Track To Begin Within Weeks

hyperloopPhoto by Kevin Krejci

Elon Musk’s futuristic view of transportation in vacuum tubes is becoming closer and closer to reality.

Musk’s Hyperloop White Paper

When Elon Musk released his white paper for the Hyperloop in 2013, he made it quite clear what he envisioned. A tube r running from San Francisco to Los Angeles largely following Interstate I-5 in which aluminum pods could reach speeds of nearly 800 miles making the journey in less than 35 minutes. Recognizing that those speeds could only be achieved with little to no friction he laid out his plan for a tube to be kept at very low pressures that would not create a vacuum. And in order to minimize friction further his plan was to equip each pod with compressor fans on both the front and the back of each.

He saw it as something that could could be achieved in four or five years time under the strong guidance of a project lead. That person was not to be Musk as he pointed out by saying, “If it was my top priority, I could probably get it done in one or two years.”

And that’s when he opened his idea up to the world and asked for others to step in to the fray.

Two companies emerge to tackle the Hyperloop

Without paying close attention, the two companies that are “competing” to become the pioneers in the field sound like the same company. The first to emerge was Hyperloop Transport Technologies (HTT) a crowdsourced company that boasts nearly 500 engineers from over 20 countries and includes current and  former employees of NASA, SpaceX, Boeing and Musk’s Tesla.

COO of Hyperloop Transport Technologies (HTT), Bibop Gresta, says of the group, “We are not a company, we are movement.” When speaking of those on board he added, “These are people that literally changed the history of this planet.”

Gresta’s disdain for the other Hyperloop player is quite clear.

When answering questions in London this week, Gresta made it clear that HTT would not be publishing a white paper which is believed to have made improvements on the Musk Model.

“HTT has no immediate plans to publish a white paper on its technology,” said Gresta.

“We haven’t disclosed anything we are doing because there’s another company [Hyperloop Technologies] that came out months ago and we didn’t like their approach,” says Gresta. “These guys came out and they used our same name and they used our logo. So this is kind of weird.”

The HTT Quay Valley Hyperloop test track

The company announced that within a “couple of weeks” it would begin construction of its 5-mile Hyperloop test track that will serve as a testing ground for a number of companies to test pod designs.

With construction slated for Kings County, California, the track is expected to cost around $6 billion and be finished in about two years. In that two years, HTT hopes to transport as many as 10 million people at a capped speed of 160 miles per hour for manned trips. However, testing of empty pods is expected to exceed 750mph.

The original cost of the test track was estimated at around $100 million. That’s not happening and presently HTT is looking at a 50% increase ($150 million) to make it perfect as well as earthquake proof with solar power systems powering the Hyperloop.

Where the money will come from is anyone’s guess but HTT’s COO certainly has some ideas.

CORRECTION: I WRONGLY IDENTIFIED THE COST OF THE TEST TRACK AT $6 BILLION, THAT IS THE ESTIMATED COST OF THE ENTIRE LOS ANGELES TO SAN FRANCISCO HYPERLOOP.

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About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com

13 Comments on "Construction On Hyperloop Test Track To Begin Within Weeks"

  1. Guessing you do not fly between LA and SF much. I can get off BART and be on my express flight in 30 minutes. Yes flying will be much faster. This semi-bullet train will also have a station you need to go to and park or take a cab or BART. You need to check in and there will be security, this won’t be Amtrak. This train will run and stop in many towns along the way and stop in the central valley.

    This is the second busiest flight corridor in the US, with a dozen airlines flying and for example Delta runs every hour. At just SFO there are over a hundred flight going to LA daily.
    There are 3 major airports in the Bay Area you can use.
    There are 5 major airports in the LA area.

    You will not be able to take the train to Long Beach, Orange County, Burbank or Ontario, but I can fly direct there with no stops.

  2. Yes…there are challenges. Costs more than a high speed rail like the one they want to build in CA? Not likely. I suspect that the 100’s of engineers that have already started working on this would have thought of your same concerns. Time will tell how it plays out. I’m willing to see how it plays out and not count them out before they even start.

  3. I’m all for the exploration of space, and the undertaking of many other challenges. But the Hyperloop is none of those things. Think about it. The Hyperloop requires everything a standard train does, and a whole lot more. Do the people undertaking this think they’re going to get a huge discount on the price of getting this done just because it’s got Elon’s name connected to it? How do they plan to buy all the land? Then there’s the massive cost of permits, environmental studies, right-of-ways, and coordination with dozens of public agencies-that will all want their slice of the money pie. And then of course there’s that tube the thing travels in, which will cost much more per mile than train tracks, even before you consider all the machinery to create the vacuum the system is supposed to operate in.

  4. “….when it doesn’t work as advertised….”

    Your support is less than underwhelming. Reminds me of the people who said “people could never fly” or “we can’t go to the moon”.

  5. John Nicastro Sr | Oct 24, 2015, 7:09 pm at 7:09 pm |

    What is the average commute time to the airport? Then you must be there at least 1 to 1.5 hours before the flight leaves, now add travel time from destination airport to downtown. I’m guessing you are looking at 4 to 5 hours if there are no delays.

    Still think flying is faster?

  6. the picture is of a high speed train. That might be because the hyperloop is total hype and a loopy idea!

  7. The grid for this hyperloop should be combined with other emerging technologies. Here is my plan. What is your plan? https://mothernatureengineering.wordpress.com/2015/09/06/5/

  8. Mr. Musk just copied what the other planet was doing … he’s alien -UFO…. lol.

  9. Me too. All the finger pointing that’s going to happen when it doesn’t work as advertised should be very entertaining. Mr.Musk is very wise to keep his distance from this project.

  10. I hate to break it to you, but ‘vacuum’ is a relative term. Whether the pressure that the tube will be kept at will be 500 Toor, 100 Torr, or 5E-6 Torr, it’s all vacuum relative to atmospheric pressure of 760 Torr, and will require large pumping capacities all along the ‘track’.

  11. Another reason California should not spend Billion on a semi-high speed train from LA to SF. It will be 2-3 times slower than a plane and take 3 hours.

  12. It is NOT vacuum tubes. It is very low pressure air though in order to reduce resistance.

  13. Can’t wait to see this thing in action.

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