The world's third Hyperloop test track is now under construction in France. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) announced on Sunday that construction is underway for a kilometer-long (0.62-mile) test track near its research and development center.
The California-based HTT is one of three major companies working on Hyperloop systems. The other two are Virgin Hyperloop One and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's Hyperloop via The Boring Company. Thus far, HTT has lagged behind the others in terms of real-world testing. But, the company should have a closed 320-meter (1,050-foot) system ready for testing this year. In 2019, a full-scale 1-kilometer-long system will be built and elevated nearly 20 feet in the air. When completed, it will be the first Hyperloop test track in Europe.
While HTT works to build its first test track, Virgin Hyperloop One has already managed to reach speeds of 240 mph in its most recent test. The test system is not to scale, however, and there's still a long way to go before reaching the company's goal of 670 mph within the low-pressure tube. SpaceX Hyperloop tests have also exceeded 200 mph.
In a Hyperloop, a passenger pod or capsule travels within a low-pressure tube while levitating above a track thanks to magnetic forces at near supersonic speeds.
Much of HTT's work is now concentrated in Europe, though the company did announce last February that it had signed an agreement with state transportation departments in Illinois and Ohio for a feasibility study. In the announcement, HTT proposed the first interstate Hyperloop could connect Chicago and Cleveland.
Although HTT hasn't carried out any of its own tests while rivals plug along, the company hopes its approach will pay off in the long run. HTT has feasibility studies ongoing in Slovakia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Indonesia, India, and South Korea.