Construction is underway in France for Europe’s first-ever Hyperloop track.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) has begun work on a 320m long, 4m internal diameter test track in Toulouse, France.
The US company confirmed that the first phase is due to be completed by the end of the year, with a full scale, 1km long system to be finished in 2019.
HyperloopTT chief executive Dirk Ahlborn said the new track was an important milestone in solving Hyperloop’s most ‘pressing’ problems of efficiency, comfort and speed.
“Hyperloop is more than just displays of rapid acceleration and more than just breaking speed records,” he said. “The real opportunity is to create an efficient and safe system with an unparalleled passenger experience.”
The track, which is being built at the research and development centre in Toulouse, is designed for both passenger capsules and shipping containers.
HyperloopTT said both phases of the track would be fully upgradable and able to be used by partner companies.
The company’s chairman Bibop Gresta said the company was committed to the innovative new transport for the long term.
“We’ve pioneered the technology, proved feasible and insurable by the world’s largest reinsurance company, Munich RE,” said Gresta. “We have agreements in place in nine countries where we’re working on feasibility and regulations. We have a research centre for freight and logistics in Brazil and a facility in Toulouse where we’ll deliver the first full-scale passenger capsule.
“Hyperloop is no longer a concept, it has become a commercial industry.”
A full scale passenger capsule is being built in Carbures in Spain and will be scheduled to be delivered to the new test track in Toulouse in the summer.
HTT has signed agreements in Slovakia, the UAE, the Czech Republic, France, Indonesia, Korea, India and the United States to explore the potential of building further tracks.
In November last year, the Department for Transport in the UK, said UK engineering expertise could play an important part in developing the ’transformational’ new Hyperloop technology and that it was ’only a couple of decades’ away.
Hyperloop technology uses a low-pressure vacuum to propel a levitated pod through a tube at very high speeds. In August last year, development company Hyperloop One reached speeds of 86m/s using its XP-1 first generation pod at its testing site in the Nevada desert, USA.