Whatever your opinion on the technology may be, it looks as though the proposed Hyperloop transportation system previously championed by Elon Musk is now actually going somewhere, based on a recent press statement.
According to the statement, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has come to agreement with the developers of a “sustainable 21st century town” being developed in California’s Central Valley to develop and install a Hyperloop system along a 5-mile stretch of the town running by the Interstate 5 freeway.
This installation will market the first time that a hyperloop system has been installed in an urban area for general use.
“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,” stated Quay Hays, CEO of GROW Holdings, Inc (Green Renewable Organic & Water), the master developer of Quay Valley. “For these reasons, the Hyperloop is the ideal clean community transit system for Quay Valley.”
Fair enough, I suppose, though there are obviously far cheaper and completely proven approaches to doing so — light rail systems and/or trams, in particular, I’m quite fond of.
“Our agreement with Quay Valley is a major milestone in the advancement of the Hyperloop project,” noted Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Dirk Ahlborn. “This installation will allow us to demonstrate all systems on a full scale and immediately begin generating revenues for our shareholders through actual operations.”
Here are some details, straight from the press statement:
The Quay Valley Hyperloop track will be built using HTT’s tube, capsule, and station models. It will be instrumental in optimizing passenger system needs — such as loading, departure and safety considerations — to ensure Hyperloop is ready for larger-scale operation. Running speed will be reduced on the shortened track from Hyperloop’s full potential.
In the past two years, JumpStartFund assembled a team of nearly 200 core team professionals who have worked to bring the Hyperloop to reality by completing extensive technological and financial feasibility studies. On February 13, 2015, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced the company was moving towards a public offering near the end of 2015. The offering is planned to be an auction with the goal of raising $100 million.
With construction at the site — in Quay Valley, California — now set to begin in 2016, I suppose that we’ll find out soon enough what this technology actually looks like when put into practice in real-world settings, presuming endless delays don’t drag this thing out for a long time, as is prone to happen with such large and new projects — ala NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which is running more than a decade late and vastly over the original budget (more than 17-fold).
Perhaps I’m wrong, but when I hear about massive, arguably vanity-based projects going well overboard in money and resource use, I can’t help but think about those massive stone heads on Easter Island — or in the ruins of the Olmec Civilization, along with their pyramids. Think they ran way “over budget” and behind schedule? Or is it something with the systems of today that leads to this pattern?
Of course, closer to home you can also bring up the repeated delays of one of Elon Musk’s other projects — the electric Model X SUV. Presuming all goes well, though, this first Hyperloop system will be in place in a few years in Quay Valley and give us some real insight into the potential commercial applicability of the technology.
As an aside, the Quay Valley development is aiming to be powered 100% by solar energy infrastructure.
For more information on the Hyperloop system/technology, see:
Image Credit: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies