UK Markets close in 2 hrs 13 mins

Europe's first hyperloop track is being built in France

Amelia Heathman

Californian-based company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is building Europe’s first ever hyperloop track in France, bringing the futuristic technology one step closer.

If you’ve never heard of hyperloop, it’s a vision of super-fast transport, created by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Musk’s idea is that magnets and fans will be used to shoot capsules floating on air through a tube at 760mph. Using the technology the 390-mile trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco could take only 30 minutes.

HyperloopTT is one company competing in the race to build the first hyperloop and has revealed it has begun constructing a kilometre-long test track near its research and development centre in Toulouse, France.

The track is being built in two stages. The first phase is a closed 320m system, which HyperloopTT says will be in operation later this year.

The second phase promises to be a full-scale system of 1km, elevated by pylons at a height of 5.8m. The completion date for this is 2019.

HyperloopTT’s CEO Dirk Ahloborn said: “Five years ago we set out to solve transportation’s most pressing problems; efficiency, comfort and speed. Today we take an important step forward to begin to achieve the goal.

“Hyperloop is more than just displays of rapid acceleration and more than just breaking speed records. The real opportunity is to create an efficient and safe system with an unparalleled passenger experience.”

It’s important that caution is exercised when it comes to hyperloop. Whilst it is a very interesting form of technology, and headlines such as London to Scotland in 45 minutes serve to increase the hype, it hasn’t really been proven yet.

The fastest speed a hyperloop system has achieved so far is 240mph, a far cry from the 760mph promised by Musk.

This was achieved by Virgin Hyperloop One, another company in the hyperloop race that was acquired last year by Richard Branson, along with a new $50 million investment.

In addition, Virgin Hyperloop One says it is going to have a full-size passenger-ready hyperloop in operation by 2021 but its first test didn’t even take place until August 2017, nine months after it pledged it would.

HyperloopTT’s new test track brings the technology a step closer in Europe. But, it's going to take a lot longer for Musk's dream to become a reality.