Hyperloop One announced Tuesday that it will run a full test within the next three months at Apex in North Las Vegas.
“Bear in mind, the Wright brothers’ plane went for 120 feet (the first time it flew under its own power),” said Nick Earle, the company’s senior vice president of global field operations.
The test within the next three months will cover 500 linear meters, Earle said.
“It will levitate, catch the right speed and slow down,” he said. “Then what we’ll do, is over the next few months extend that into a few kilometers,” he said.
Earle described a Hyperloop as four technologies combined in a unique way.
“You take an autonomous vehicle pod, you put it inside a tube, you take the air out of a tube … then you use a linear motor … and passive maglev (magnetic levitation), and you put it in a horizontal line and it goes fast,” he said.
To date, no one has proved that you can create levitation at a very high speed (ultimately, cargo and passengers will travel at over 700 mph) in a tube with barely any electricity.
“Once you prove the engineering then it’s a case of working with the components to bring the price down. Right now it’s about half the price of high-speed rail,” Earle said, adding that his team will also work to add speed and integrate autonomous vehicles to ultimately provide door-to-door service for passengers.
He said the company is aiming to have a full Hyperloop system operational for freight use by 2020.
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development awarded Hyperloop $10 million in tax incentives to locate in Nevada last May. The company has since built an an open-air track for testing the technology.