The world’s fourth Hyperloop test facility is under construction in Toulouse, France.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is constructing a 320-meter long full-scale tube for testing its pods, TechRepublic reported. The track is the first of two facilities planned by HTT or HyperloopTT and is scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2018.
A second one-kilometer long test track is planned for 2019. Pictures obtained by Endgadget show large tubes similar to those used by Virgin Hyperloop One at its North Las Vegas, Nevada, test facility.
The tubes are large enough to accommodate fully functional Hyperloop pods like Hyperloop One’s XP-1 test pod. That means the system is big enough to carry passengers or cargo containers.
The HTT tubes are slightly larger than Hyperloop One’s, according to Endgadget. They will be closer to a real-world system; but require more energy to operate, because HTT will need to create a vacuum inside the tubes.
The first pod for the HTT facility is under construction in Carbures, Spain, Endgadget reported. HTT is planning pods that will carry 28 to 40 people and reach speeds of 760 miles an hour, Endgadget claimed. News articles did not say when people will start riding in the HTT pods.
Who is Financing Hyperloop Transportation Technologies?
One thing is obvious; Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has found some serious financing.
The most likely source of that money is the French government, another is the aerospace giant Airbus SE (EPA: AIR); or Airbus Group, which is headquartered in Toulouse. Airbus would presumably manufacture the Hyperloop pods which would be similar in construction and design to an airliner.
This might make HTT the most serious and best-financed Hyperloop effort. Those seeking a Hyperloop stock would be well-advised to take a look at Airbus because the company is publicly-traded.
Hyperloop Testing let the Races Begin
There are currently four known Hyperloop test tracks in the world, only two of which are in operation.
The most famous track is the 500 meter-long facility operated by Virgin Hyperloop One in North Las Vegas. That track is the only working life-size Hyperloop but as far as we know human beings have never ridden in it.
Another well-known track is the small one Elon Musk had built in the parking lot at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. That smaller track has been used for Musk’s well-publicized Hyperloop contests that pit teams from different universities against each other. Despite all the fanfare it has received, Musk’s track is not big enough for manned vehicles to move through.
The least well-known Hyperloop track is the one Hardt Global Mobility has built at Delft in the Netherlands. Interestingly, Hardt originated as one of the teams competing in Musk’s Hyperloop contests. The company has a test tube at the Delft University of Technology where some of its founders were students.
Hardt is working with the Dutch national railroad, NS, Deloitte, the vacuum pump maker Busch, and other impressive partners but it has not built a full-scale pod yet. It is probable that other Hyperloop test tracks are planned elsewhere in the world.
The Hyperloop race is truly heating up and it looks as if HTT might be winning because it is better financed. One has to wonder how Musk and Virgin Hyperloop One’s owner Sir Richard Branson will respond to HTT’s work.