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Hyperloop Technologies to test engine component in Nevada

A company seeking to bring Elon Musk’s hyperloop transportation concept into reality plans to begin work this month on a small test site in North Las Vegas.

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop Technologies Inc. announced Tuesday that a 0.6-mile track it’s building in the Mountain View Industrial Park will be used to test a custom-designed electric engine at speeds of up to 336 mph in the coming months. The engine would be a key piece of the hyperloop, a proposed intercity transportation system that would shuttle compartments filled with people and goods through large tubes. Many technical details remain under experiment.

Musk, chief executive of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, had touted the idea in a paper two years ago.

The engine test represents just the first hurdle toward launching a bigger system. Hyperloop Technologies said it would eventually need a track three times as long to do a full-scale, 700-mph test in about a year. It hasn’t a selected a site yet.

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Nevada officials declined to comment on whether it’s offering the company tax breaks or other incentives to lure the bigger project, but a spokeswoman for the state’s Governor’s Office of Economic Development said there was no special package involved with the North Las Vegas setup. Hyperloop Technologies has raised $37 million from venture capitalists.

The startup is one of two major ones tackling the hyperloop engineering challenge; similarly named Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is planning a test site in California’s Central Valley. Both hope to deploy a revenue-generating system within the next few years. Musk also has said he’s open to helping create a test track in Texas.

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