Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] isn't allowed to sell cars in Texas, but could the state soon be home to a test track for Elon Musk's 800-mph Hyperloop tube-transport concept?
While the Tesla boss originally said he wouldn't be personally involved in Hyperloop development, he recently tweeted that he will build a test track "for companies and student teams to test out their pods," most likely in the Lone Star state.
Musk originally brought up the idea of the Hyperloop—which uses tubes suspended from the ground on pylons—back in August 2013, and suggested a route between Los Angeles and San Francisco, seemingly as a counterpoint to the state's own voter-approved high-speed rail project.
Cargo- or people-carrying pods would be suspended in the tube by a blanket of air and propelled by magentic levitation (maglev), eliminating friction and theoretically making the Hyperloop's claimed high speeds possible.
Will be building a Hyperloop test track for companies and student teams to test out their pods. Most likely in Texas.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 15, 2015
When he first revealed it, Musk said he would leave the actual construction of the Hyperloop to someone else, but did hint that he might stay involved through prototype testing.
Subsequently, a company called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies was started to actually build the thing. Through parent JumpStartFund, it recruited about 100 engineers to work on the Hyperloop part time.
The company is looking at building a Hyperloop wherever it is most feasible, presumably just as a proof of concept, rather than a response to a specific local need. So far it is considering a Los Angeles to Las Vegas route, as well as sites in Europe and Asia.
While the cost of the Texas test track is unknown, Musk previously estimated that the 400-mile L.A.-San Francisco Hyperloop would cost between $6 billion and $10 billion.