Hyperloop Testing Facility to be built in Las Vegas Area

The third Hyperloop testing facility is going to be built in North Las Vegas, Nev., a suburb of Sin City. Work on the Propulsion Open Air Test is scheduled to start in January 2016 at the Apex Industrial Park in that community.

The facility’s owner, Hyperloop Technologies Inc., aka Hyperloop Tech (or HTI), hopes that the transportation technology’s “Kitty Hawk moment” will occur in North Las Vegas in 2016, the company’s blog indicates. For those who did not pay attention in school, Kitty Hawk refers to the town in North Carolina where the Wright Brothers first flew their airplane.

Among other things, the facility will test linear electric motors that also propel magnetic levitation or maglev trains to insane speeds, Extreme Tech reported. HTI will also test a variety of propulsion methods for the Hyperloop, including wheels and an air cushion.

03_North-Las-Vegas

That testing is designed to determine if Hyperloop is practical and what it might look like. An actual Hyperloop vehicle could be tested at the facility as early as 2017 or 2018.

The facility could fit in with Hyperloop Tech’s alliance with China Railway International USA. That company is working with a venture called XpressWest, which is trying to develop high speed rail service between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

The Apex Industrial Park is certainly strategically located. It is just off I-15 and only 25 minutes from McCarran International Airport. Facilities at the park include five power generation stations and high pressure natural gas. Apex could one day be the location of a major Hyperloop manufacturing facility and perhaps a 21st century railyard that could serve as a hub for Hyperloop routes connecting Las Vegas to Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, and other metropolitan areas in the near future.

passengers-boarding_1447617272

Las Vegas could one day go from being Sin City USA to Hyperloop City USA. Such a transportation infrastructure could one day propel a major economic boom in Las Vegas and Clark County, Nev.

This is the third Hyperloop facility in the planning stages. The others are Hyperloop Transportation Technologies’ (HTT) facility in Quay Valley, Calif., in the San Joaquin Valley, and the test track Elon Musk is building at his SpaceX company in Hawthorne, Calif.

Hyperloop Technologies is Moving Forward

Hyperloop Tech has certainly been very busy since I last checked in on them. They have recruited a large team that includes a lot of engineering professionals. More importantly, they’ve created some impressive equipment at their campus in Downtown Los Angeles.

pod-whipping-along_1447459759

This includes the Levitation Rig, a test stand that achieves speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour in order to simulate conditions inside a Hyperloop Tube and the Blade Runner, which creates the vacuum necessary for Hyperloop. The Big Tube is a 50-foot long carbon steel vessel designed to simulate the Hyperloop Tube and create the vacuum conditions necessary for hardware development.

They’ve also built a Tube Lab, a mobile facility inside a cargo container. I imagine this will be a testing facility that can be taken into the field and hauled to North Las Vegas and other locations.

It looks like HTI is the leader in this field, and HTT will certainly be hard-pressed to catch up. One has to wonder what this company will do next and how soon it could have an actual Hyperloop system up and running.