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Hyperloop prototype to be built, tested in Colorado

Swisspod claims ‘one of the most affordable hyperloop infrastructure propositions in the world’

Swisspod and Transportation Technology Center Inc. will build and test a full-scale capsule and operational infrastructure for its hyperloop cargo transport system at a facility in Pueblo, Colorado. (Pictured is a rendering courtesy of Swisspod)

A new testing facility for an experimental transportation technology known as hyperloop is set for Pueblo, Colorado.

Swiss-American startup Swisspod recently announced an agreement with Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI) to build and test a full-scale prototype of its hyperloop system at a facility near the city.

TTCI will provide engineering insight and operational and test plan support. The partnership with TTCI will advance Swisspod’s global expansion strategy, company officials said.

“This new partnership will be vital to our market positioning, not only as pioneers of a highly efficient propulsion system but also as one of the most affordable hyperloop infrastructure propositions in the world,” Denis Tudor, co-founder and CEO of Swisspod, said in a statement.

Hyperloop is a proposed high-speed ground transportation system for passengers and commercial cargo. Hyperloop’s sealed tubes and pressurized vehicles, called pods, move at high speeds — up to 745 mph — powered by emission-free renewable energy, according to Swisspod.

The test track in Pueblo will study Swisspod’s technology patents that are part of the hyperloop’s propulsion system. Swisspod will also build a full-scale capsule and operational infrastructure for cargo transportation at the site.

TTCI is a railroad equipment testing and training facility located in Pueblo and is a subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads.

The test track will be built at the 23,000-acre PuebloPlex, a decommissioned U.S. Army chemical depot on land about 20 miles east of Pueblo.

A test track for Swisspod’s hyperloop technology will be constructed at the PuebloPlex, a former U.S. Army Depot located in Pueblo, Colorado. (Photo: PuebloPlex)

The cost of the Pueblo hyperloop testing facility was not provided.

Swisspod was founded in 2019 by Tudor and Cyril Dénéréaz, winners of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in 2017. The competition was an annual competition sponsored by SpaceX from 2015 to 2019.

Swisspod is headquartered in Monthey, Switzerland, and has a U.S. office in Miami Beach. 

In July, Swisspod launched a hyperloop test track at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. 

The idea for a hyperloop dates as far back to the 18th century with British scientist George Medhurst, some historians believe.

In 2013, SpaceX founder Elon Musk published a research paper proposing hyperloop technology as an alternative to fossil fuel-dependent modes of transportation. Musk released the designs of hyperloop as an open source project.

Other companies trying to develop viable commercial hyperloop technologies include Transpod, Virgin Hyperloop One, Hyperloop TT, DP World Cargospeed, Hardt Hyperloop and the Elon Musk-owned The Boring Co. To date, no company has been able to develop a commercially viable hyperloop.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]