The picture above is an actual section of the first full-scale hyperloop test track currently taking shape in North Las Vegas. The 3 km full-scale and full speed enclosed prototype with a low-pressure environment will be used as a test track for Hyperloop One’s technology.
The company announced that it raised over $100 million – enough to build the track – and it hopes to bring the first commercial version to market by 2021. While generally regarded as the frontrunner to build the first hyperloop, Hyperloop One is not the only company developing the new mode of transportation envisioned by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is the other main company aiming to bring to market a full-scale hyperloop, but with a different approach.
While Hyperloop One is taking the “normal” startup approach of raising capital through venture capitalist funds and it doesn’t hurt that its co-founder and chairman, Shervin Pishevar, is the managing partner of an important fund, HTT on the other hand is using a crowdsourcing model to develop its technology with part-time engineers working for equity.
The company also hopes to launch a crowdfunding initiative later this year.
HTT released details of the propulsion technology it hopes to use as well as plans for a 5-mile track in Quay Valley, California.
But now Pishevar suggests that those projects amount only to “PowerPoint presentations” while Hyperloop One is “using steel”. It looks like a rivalry is taking form between the two companies. We can’t argue against using steel. Last week, we reported on Hyperloop One’s latest creation, a big contraption called “tube deformer” to reshape giant sections of its tube.
CNBC fed the rivalry this morning by pinning Pishevar and HTT’s CEO, Dirk Ahlborn, against each other in a series of interviews during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia:
Ahlborn then responded to Pishevar’s comments:
While rivalries can sometime distract from the goal, which is obviously to create a new and better mode of transport, keep in mind that competition is almost always a good motivator to develop new technologies.