PUEBLO, Colorado — Pueblo will soon be at the forefront of the race to develop a hyperloop. The Swiss-American start-up Swisspod announced a new agreement with the Transportation Technology Center (TTCI) and the Puebloplex to build and test a full-scale prototype of their ground transportation system.
The pods would carry up to 30 passengers or cargo between major cities in minutes. They will move through a vacuum-sealed tube reaching near super-sonic speeds with a propulsion system that is designed to be completely carbon-neutral.
"It's much more efficient than an electric car or an electric train," explained Denis Tudor, Swisspod CEO and Co-Founder.
Tudor and Chief Technology Officer Cyril Dénéréaz together won multiple awards for their designs in the SpaceX hyperloop competition before founding the company in 2019.
Tudor said what attracted the company to Pueblo was the opportunity to work with TTCI on the development of Swisspod.
"We found more than a collaborator, we found a partner to develop this mode of transportation further," he said.
For decades, TTCI has served as a proving ground for new innovations in the rail industry. Kari Gonzales, the acting president and CEO of TTCI, said the campus prides itself on being a trusted and unbiased third party that never sacrifices safety or quality.
"When you're talking about not only solving complex problems but also bringing a product to market that's been tested and give the community a little bit and I think the world just a little bit of assurance that this has been tested by some of the world's leading experts in ground transportation."
Swisspod first plans use TTCI's magnetic levitation track to validate its propulsion system. The full-scale prototype will need more space. Fortunately, the neighboring Pueblo Plex property has plenty.
Gonzales said the timing for the partnership worked out perfectly as the weapons destruction process at the former Army Depot is winding down.
"It is the perfect combination of expansive facilities, kind of a remote location, and really, we called up Denis after we left that and said, hey we found it," she said.
Swisspod began construction of a 1/6th Scale prototype in Switzerland in July.