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Hyperloop company files plans for full-scale test site at Apex

A futuristic transportation company in North Las Vegas could be here to stay.

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop Technologies Inc. has submitted plans for a full-scale test site at the Apex Industrial Park, according to CEO Rob Lloyd.

Lloyd said the North Las Vegas facility could create 60 to 80 jobs in construction and engineering for 2016.

No cost figure was immediately available.

The plans could be approved within a couple weeks, according to Gregory Blackburn, director of community development and compliance for North Las Vegas.

Hyperloop Technologies Inc., one of two companies working on the technology, broke ground last month at a 50-acre site at the Apex Industrial Park on a smaller track.

It’s unclear if the company would need more property for the full-scale track.

The premise of this “fifth mode of transportation” involves transporting people or cargo in levitated capsules through tubes at speeds up to 750 mph. At such speeds, a Las Vegas-Los Angeles trip could take under a half hour.

Lloyd said the company is focusing on both freight and people. The technology could alleviate traffic in cities and make the process of moving cargo more efficient, said Lloyd.

The company expects to begin testing an open-air prototype with speeds up to 400 mph in April, Lloyd said. If the full-scale site comes to fruition, a full-system prototype test on a 2-mile track is expected by the end of the year.

“That’s a moment the world will be watching,” said Lloyd.

The full-scale prototype would showcase the levitated pods being propelled through the tubes.

The high-tech industry pickup would make even more noise for a city in the spotlight after the Faraday Future deal.

The company expects to be commercially ready by 2021, and hopes to identify three initial routes by 2017. Lloyd said Wednesday that the company is looking nationally and internationally.

Hyperloop Technologies Inc. was founded by Shervin Pishevar, an early investor in Uber and by Brogan BamBrogan, former senior engineer of propulsion at SpaceX.

The company has raised $37 million so far and is in the process of closing another round of funding that would cover the costs of testing it full-scale, Lloyd said.

The similarly named Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc., also based in Los Angeles, is made up of engineers from various companies trading time for stock. Last month, it submitted plans to build a full-scale five-mile test track in Central California.

The Hyperloop idea was open-sourced by billionaire and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk in 2013. Musk has promoted the idea, though he is not associated with the private companies.

Musk also founded SpaceX and Tesla Motors Inc., which chose a site near Reno for a $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory in 2014.

At a SpaceX pod design competition last week at Texas A&M, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx praised the Hyperloop technology and said university students studying it could potentially qualify for a federal grant.

The competition will continue this summer in California, where SpaceX will be creating its own one-mile test track for teams near its Hawthorne, California headquarters.

Contact Alexander S. Corey at acorey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0270. Find him on Twitter: @acoreynews

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