The hyperloop could be a futuristic California city’s public transit

A county halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles would be one of the first sites to host a hyperloop track under a plan revealed today by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, an organization that has been working to make the futuristic form of transportation a reality since it was announced by Elon Musk in 2013.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, which is not affiliated with Musk, signed a deal with developers for a tract of land in Quay Valley, California, where developers have proposed a 150,000-person city powered entirely by solar panels. It plans to begin building a five-mile test hyperloop track next year. It is scheduled to start running in 2019.

“With Quay Valley, we’re creating a community built on economical, environmental and social sustainability, and part of this is seeking to reduce car dependency,” Quay Valley developer GROW Holdings’ CEO Quay Hays said in a release. “For these reasons, the Hyperloop is the ideal clean community transit system for Quay Valley.”

A rendering of the proposed test track.

A rendering of the proposed test track.

Musk’s hyperloop design calls for capsules large enough to carry passengers that pass through a steel tube at up to 800 miles per hour. The high speed is made possible by creating a near-vacuum in the tube, reducing drag.

“It’s like getting a ride on Space Mountain at Disneyland,” Musk told Businessweek in 2013. “It would have less lateral acceleration — which is what tends to make people feel motion sick — than a subway ride, as the pod banks against the tube like an airplane. Unlike an airplane, it is not subject to turbulence, so there are no sudden movements. It would feel super smooth.”

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies plans to pay for the test track with funds raised via an IPO later this year. It estimates it will need $100 million for construction.

The company was born via crowdfunding site JumpStartFund, where it also gathered its team via crowdsourcing. It now has some competition; Musk plans to build a five-mile hyperloop test track in a location like Texas, and Hyperloop Technologies, another startup unaffiliated with Musk, is considering using the technology for cargo transit, potentially in Las Vegas.

Another startup steps up to build the hyperloop

Hyperloop Technologies, a startup formed by SpaceX alumni and well-known Silicon Valley executives, came out of stealth with $8.5 million on Wednesday to make the hyperloop reality, according to a report in Forbes.

The hyperloop, a transportation system that would send capsules large enough to contain people or goods through tubes at 760 miles per hour, originated with a paper published by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and his team in 2013, but Musk said at the time that he didn’t have the time to pursue building it. He announced plans to build a test track last month.

That paper contained enough details for others to go after their own plans, and Hyperloop Technologies is the first to come up with actual money. On top of that $8.5 million, it plans to raise an $80 million funding round before the year is up, according to Forbes. Its team is led by former SpaceX engineer Brogan BamBrogan, and also includes XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis, venture capitalist Shervin Pichevar, Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, Yammer founder David Sacks and former White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina.

Unlike Musk, the team initially sees the hyperloop carrying cargo instead of passengers. Forbes points out that Musk’s initial plans for a route from LA to San Francisco ran into major problems with rights of way and actually placing the line’s terminus in the heart of either city. With a cargo route, that wouldn’t be a problem.

This post was updated at 4:30 p.m. with the correct spelling of Shervin Pichevar and Joe Messina’s names.

Elon Musk is building a hyperloop test track

The hyperloop is happening; well, at least, it will be tested. Elon Musk tweeted today that his team plans to build a test track for pod testing, with Texas as a prime location candidate. An annual pod racer competition isn’t out of the question either.

Musk, currently keeping busy as CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, has been mostly quiet on the hyperloop concept since he first announced its design in August 2013. The initial plan called for a 35-minute route between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Musk has always stated that he has no firm plans to actually build the hyperloop, but that hasn’t stopped other organizations from trying.

There’s no timeline on the hyperloop test track just yet. I smell a new event for the 2024 Boston Olympics.