The hyperloop could be a futuristic California city’s public transit

A county halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles would be one of the first sites to host a hyperloop track under a plan revealed today by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, an organization that has been working to make the futuristic form of transportation a reality since it was announced by Elon Musk in 2013.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, which is not affiliated with Musk, signed a deal with developers for a tract of land in Quay Valley, California, where developers have proposed a 150,000-person city powered entirely by solar panels. It plans to begin building a five-mile test hyperloop track next year. It is scheduled to start running in 2019.

“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,” Quay Valley developer GROW Holdings’ CEO Quay Hays said in a release. “For these reasons, the Hyperloop is the ideal clean community transit system for Quay Valley.”

A rendering of the proposed test track.
A rendering of the proposed test track.

Musk’s hyperloop design calls for capsules large enough to carry passengers that pass through a steel tube at up to 800 miles per hour. The high speed is made possible by creating a near-vacuum in the tube, reducing drag.

“It’s like getting a ride on Space Mountain at Disneyland,” Musk told Businessweek in 2013. “It would have less lateral acceleration — which is what tends to make people feel motion sick — than a subway ride, as the pod banks against the tube like an airplane. Unlike an airplane, it is not subject to turbulence, so there are no sudden movements. It would feel super smooth.”

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies plans to pay for the test track with funds raised via an IPO later this year. It estimates it will need $100 million for construction.

The company was born via crowdfunding site JumpStartFund, where it also gathered its team via crowdsourcing. It now has some competition; Musk plans to build a five-mile hyperloop test track in a location like Texas, and Hyperloop Technologies, another startup unaffiliated with Musk, is considering using the technology for cargo transit, potentially in Las Vegas.