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Virgin Hyperloop One test pod hitting the road on 3-city tour

The Virgin Hyperloop One test pod that calls Nevada home is set to make its way across the country.

No, it won’t be traveling underground at speeds of 240 mph, but on a three city tour with a crew from Hyperloop One to meet with shareholders and the public where the technology is being discussed for possible real time use.

“When government and investor delegations come to our test site, seeing the technology makes it real for them,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One in a statement. “Not everyone can come to the Nevada desert, so we’re bringing our technology to the people – the American people who will be riding this new form of transportation within a decade.”

In May 2017, the test pod, XP-1, completed the world’s first full-system hyperloop test on a test track near North Las Vegas.

The technology uses a high efficiency motor, power electronics, magnetic levitation and vacuum pumping systems to transport people or freight in capsules that hover inside a tube. The capsules travel without air resistance, enabling them to achieve high speeds with minimal energy use.

The test site has seen the XP-1 run at speeds over 240 mph on 550 yards of track.

Nine states are looking at how the technology can work in their areas and the federal government created the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council to advance safety and regulatory certification.

The roadshow will give local communities the chance to see first-hand the historic test pod and learn more about their states’ progress in bringing hyperloop to fruition in a matter of years.

“Cities that were chosen are all proactively looking at a hyperloop solution,” said Ryan Kelly, head of marketing and communications for Virgin Hyperloop One. “Our CEO will be talking with stakeholders as well to understand the goals and objectives in the region and how a hyperloop system could fit into those plans.”

The tour kicks off Aug. 4 in Columbus, Ohio, where the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission is conducting a feasibility study of using hyperloop along a Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh corridor. An environmental impact statement is planned along the same route.

“Since being named a winner of the Hyperloop One Global Challenge in 2017, we’ve been proud to work with VHO in advancing our ‘Midwest Connect’ corridor,” said William Murdock, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. “Showcasing VHO and the XP-1 pod in Columbus as the first stop on the U.S. roadshow offers the opportunity for our businesses, community leaders, and residents to see the impact this emerging technology could have on the future success of Central Ohio – and the entire Midwest.”

The tour will then head to Arlington, Texas, Aug. 8-10 where the Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Transportation Council began a hyperloop feasibility study of a Fort Worth to Laredo, Texas, route and an environmental impact study along a Dallas to Fort Worth corridor, which would include an Arlington station with access to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

“Our region is going to gain 3 million new residents within 25 years. In order to handle this mass influx of people, we need to explore projects that will modernize our transportation infrastructure,” said Michael Morris, director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments. “We are exploring hyperloop as a potential project that would connect millions of Texans faster, safer, and more efficiently.”

Following Texas, the tour will conclude Sept. 14 at a stop in Kansas City, Kansas.planned 250-mile route linking it to St. Louis

Beyond the host cities, XP-1 will also make appearances throughout the heartland at diners, hotels, museums, parks, state houses, and stadiums.

This 4,000 mile route across the United States will take 70 hours driving. If that trek was made using hyperloop technology, it would take about six hours, the company said in a statement.

With the testing in the Southern Nevada desert playing a big role in the progression of the hyperloop technology, the company is looking at the next steps to make its underground dream a reality.

“We now we can hit the max speeds, our focus is on getting ready for safety certification for passengers,” Kelly said.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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