A California company set on building a futuristic, super high-speed transportation system announced Tuesday that it will build a test track in North Las Vegas.
Hyperloop Technologies' test will involve sending an electrical motor at more than 300 miles per hour on a half-mile track. Hardware is expected to arrive this month, and testing is projected to begin early next year.
The hyperloop technology aims to use vacuum tubes to transport freight and passengers in pods at speeds up to 750 mph. With little wind resistance, the system could zip people around at the speed of sound and cut the 400-mile ride between Los Angeles and San Francisco down to an hour.
Capsules would float on a thin cushion of air and draw on magnetic attraction and solar power to zoom through a nearly airless tube.
''This decision represents another major milestone in our journey to bring Hyperloop to commercial reality,'' Rob Lloyd, CEO of the Los Angeles-based company, said in a statement. ''Hyperloop Technologies will invest first in regions where we receive government advocacy to move fast.''
The company says it's still looking for a site to build a 2-mile test track and conduct more extensive testing.
Tesla and SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk first publicly theorized about the project in 2013, and is backing an engineering competition aimed at bringing the vision alive. Musk has suggested that building an actual Hyperloop system would cost $6 billion, although others suggest the figure will be much higher.
News of the development is a boon for North Las Vegas, a city of about 220,000 that experienced rapid growth in the early 2000s before teetering on the edge of insolvency when the recession hit.
Officials there are also hoping for an economic jolt from electric car company Faraday Future, which is expected to announce any day now whether California, Georgia, Louisiana or Nevada has landed its $1 billion proposed factory and an estimated 4,500 jobs.