Building a Hyperloop Test Track Next Year is a Beautiful Delusion

By Mario Aguilar on at

One of several startups endeavouring to build Elon Musk's Hyperloop vision thinks it can start building a test track to demonstrate and develop the idea next year. That's a lovely sounding idea, but let's file this plan under "insanely hypothetical".

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc. is a crowdsourced team of hundreds of brains that are trying to iron out all of the details of how to make the Hyperloop a reality. And there area lot of details to attend to when you want to build a 40-mile supersonic transport tube connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles: everything from capsule geometry, to financial statements, to route details. It's a very optimistic endeavour with plenty of smart people on board.

The idealistic plan is to get construction going on Musk's originally proposed 400 mile Hyperloop tube connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles ASAP. Wired reports:

The idea is to build a five-mile track in Quay Valley, a planned community (itself a grandiose idea) that will be built from scratch on 7,500 acres of land around Interstate 5, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Construction of the hyperloop will be paid for with $100 million Hyperloop Transportation Technologies expects to raise through a direct public offering in the third quarter of this year.

The site of the track, Quay Valley, is a just proposed 7,500 acre planned community on private land. It's core document contains just about every utopian idea you can think of. "We'll use half the water that typically would be used," Quay Hays, the brains of the operation, told the Fresno Bee. "We don't use water, we reuse it. Every drop will be cleaned and reused."

As Wired points out Hyperloop Transportation Technologies avoids many of the pesky right-of-way problems inherent in ploughing 400 miles of infrastructure through the world by building the track. Of course, the full-scale five-mile track won't demonstrate some of the most important details because it's not going to get the capsules going 800 miles per hour.

Last month, Elon Musk announced plans to build his own Hyperloop test track in Texas. The main difference between Musk and Hyperloop Transpiration Technologies being his billions of dollars and loads of experience building larger than life ideas.

I reached out to Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc. using the email I found on this press release to ask if they see any possible reason their plan might not work out. Any reply will be added as an update to this page.

Developing the Hyperloop is an insanely ambitious and admirable project. Theoretically it's possible. This wouldn't be the first time that a very idealistic and ambitious plan proved everyone wrong. We wish the dreamers the best. [Wired]