The chief executive of Virgin Hyperloop One, Rob Lloyd, has confirmed that the company expects to start building before 2020. "Somewhere in the world we are very confident that we would begin construction in 2019 with initial testing at production level in 2021,” said Lloyd, speaking to The National.
However, there are still questions about where this project will commence. There is considerable interest from transport authorities in the US, with Colorado emerging as a prominent option, but it's just as likely that a location elsewhere in the world might get the nod.
One proposal outlined a route that would link Mexico City with Guadalajara, but there's also interest in a Hyperloop connecting northern Europe, as well as the possibility of a track in the United Arab Emirates.
Lloyd also addressed how expensive Hyperloop travel might be. Detractors of the system have theorized that the cost of implementing a network might make this form of transport accessible only to very wealthy people.
However, Lloyd argued that Hyperloop will be "inclusive" and that people won't be priced out. He stated that costs would only be two-thirds as high as high-speed rail, and he projected that a trip between two cities 50-60 kilometers apart could cost as little as $5.
Money will be a major factor in any Hyperloop project, but the company's financial backing seems fairly robust. It has already raised $245 million to fund its efforts, a figure bolstered by a major investment from Richard Branson earlier this month that saw the startup rechristened as Virgin Hyperloop One.